A friend once told me that she thinks of her life as a boat with a limited number of seats on it. Every person who is allowed on board is given priority access to her time and energy, so she is careful about who she chooses as a passenger.
Although this analogy could be interpreted as mean spirited, I find it to be quite wise. The reality is we are all have a finite amount of resources to allocate each day. When we are tapped out, both emotionally and physically, there is nothing left to give: so it is important to be mindful of what we are giving and to whom.
I like to think of my own life as a series of concentric circles, with a small handful of priority people nestled at the core (my “boat”), and other friends and family members placed in wider and wider circles of importance, which ripple out from my centre point.
There is enough love, time and energy for everyone who falls within my radius, but the amount that I allocate, and how often, varies upon their proximity to the source. This works for me; and it helps me to prioritize what I say “yes” and “no” to in my life.