The power of saying no
Reading Between the Pines
By Stacie Chadwick
From a very early age, my parents taught me to be kind. To everyone. And I am, sometimes to a fault and so much so that with the best of intentions I get myself into trouble.
I love connecting and creating in an effort to help others. It’s how I chose my career and why I like to volunteer. Giving back simply makes me happy. I’m pretty sure the first word that trickled out of my mouth wasn’t “mama” or “dada.” It was “yes.” Yes, I’ll run the school charter committee, yes I’ll run a marathon, yes I’ll run you to the airport. Yes, yes and yes again.
Have you ever been in a situation where, already overcommitted, you say yes to the evite that pops up on your screen, only to find that on the day of the party you can’t fit in what you already knew you couldn’t do in the first place? That time isn’t as elastic as those $100 yoga pants that are supposed to fit for life (and don’t), and you can’t magically gain the hours you need to honor your commitment?
In saying yes when your heart says you shouldn’t, you end up hurting a relationship you’re trying to nurture, because a last-minute change of plans stings a lot more than an honest and front-loaded no.
Following my parents’ advice well into adulthood, I thought the word “no” was mean and inconsiderate, until the moment I realized it actually protects my relationships. Saying no is all about balance, because if we don’t safeguard our time, everything else becomes compromised. So now, when my desire to give to others comes into conflict with my need to take care of myself, I’ve learned to pull back. I try my best not to overcommit. I wish that time were endless, but the reality is there are a finite number of hours in any day and a limited amount of energy to give away.
With the right perspective and a sincere delivery, saying no isn’t impolite. It’s actually a kind-hearted gesture, so that on the occasions that you choose to say yes, your heart, mind and intentions are all completely aligned.
To read more from Stacie, check out her blog at https://readingbetweenthepines.com.