Friday, October 30, 2009

Saying NO!

If you are anything like me you have been taught to say yes to everyone you can.  "Yes, I will help you watch your kids." "Yes, I will help you out with the school party." "Yes, I will dress up like a clown and sit in the school dunk tank."  "Yes, I will help you shave your poodle...."

The list of stuff we agree to is amazing, and quite obnoxious in some cases.  Before you wonder if I am the world's worst friend/mother/wife/daughter I want you to know I do most of this stuff, like it or not. 

Recently I was involved in a big, no HUGE project.  It was weeks of effort.  I did enjoy parts of the project, even most of the project, but I was exhausted.  I was physically ill from lack of sleep and stress.  My eating patterns changed.  I lost weight. (I know some of you would be excited by this, but it was for all the wrong reasons.) I was always tired and my body rebelled.

As I was lamenting my involvement in said project a dear friend gave me some very sage advice.  She told me I needed to become intimately familiar with the word "No."  I laughed and asked her exactly which project I should stop working on.  She repeated, "Learn the word no." 

Now most of us have been taught to say "Yes" whenever possible.  Chances are we say it too much.  I know I do.  Recently a friend called and asked me to sub for a class she was teaching so she could go on a trip.  I was exhausted, had very little advanced warning and needed to spend time with my family, so I took a deep breath and said, "No."  It was hard.  I felt awkward and even a little selfish, I mean it was a trip her husband had planned for her birthday and all.  But I did it, and guess what?  It was the right call.

There is no need to do every activity, be everywhere and accomplish everything.  It is true.  I know you may be having a hard time accepting what I just said, but it is true.

So as the holiday season comes closer make sure you take a deep breath and remember those two little letters which can set you free.  You will enjoy yourself and family much more if you do.  So go forth and say "No!"

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