Thursday, June 28, 2018

The exhilarating freedom of NO

"If you don't want to do it
and you don't have to do it,
~Martha Beck

Cindy La Ferle

How often do you say "yes" when you'd rather say "no" -- whether the activity you're invited to attend isn't in your realm of interest, or you're simply too pooped to participate? How many times have you been coaxed into taking on a new project when you're already overbooked? How often do you find yourself following a worn-out, fruitless routine -- like posting on social media -- only because you think it's expected of you? 

A recovering people-pleaser, I still struggle with this issue.

People-pleasers hate to disappoint others and spend too much time trying to earn Brownie points. You'd think that we would have outgrown this overriding need for approval by adulthood, but there you have it. 

It should go without saying that there are many non-negotiable events and obligations that require us to be responsible adults, even when we'd rather be napping. We have to show up at work, drive our kids or parents to doctor appointments, put dinner on the table, go to the dentist, pay bills on time, nurture relationships with our spouses or partners, maintain our homes and property, and meet deadlines. 

And, yes, sometimes we should push ourselves to step outside our comfort zones when we're nudged to do so. In the past, I've dragged myself to events that I wasn't initially enthused about, yet I ended up enjoying myself way more than I'd imagined. 

Cheryl Richardson, who often writes about the importance of self-care, reminds us that we are responsible for protecting our own time and energy. We have a right to spend our time the way we want -- and with whom we want to spend it. And we needn't over-explain why.

Richardson has a wonderful phrase to remember when we're feeling pressured or overwhelmed: "If it's not an absolute yes, it's a no." 

As Richardson reminds us, doing things solely for the sake of pleasing others or "being nice" only leads to exhaustion or resentment later on. It also helps to remember that the people who respect us don't want us to say "yes" unless we really want to. 

Be kind to yourself and have a wonderful weekend! ~Cindy La Ferle

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