People who know me well would likely agree that I’m usually not good for much more than a “yes” and a laugh.
Which is just another way of saying that I am categorically very, very, horribly bad at saying, “no.” At least, that is, until recently.
Lately, I feel like I have been saying, “no,” to just about everything. And it’s been simultaneously horrifying … and liberating.
You might wonder: why have I been giving ye old smackdown to interesting projects, exciting engagements, and other sparkly distractions these days? Because, frankly …
Saying, “yes,” isn’t making me happier or holier.
I have been taking a long, hard look in the mirror for a while now – in a totally healthy, non-creepy, non-narcissistic way, promise! – because things have been breaking down physically, emotionally, and with relationships for a while because of my, well, addiction of sorts to what usually happened when I said, “yes.”
The sense of productivity, needfulness, and recognition that often followed my affirmative response to whatever came my way became an idol of sorts – something to seek, something to save me from myself and my circumstances, something to depend upon.
In other words, saying, “yes,” was, however subconsciously, filling a God-shaped hole in my heart that was meant for my Savior alone.
I found that saying, “yes” to so many things really meant I was saying, “no” to more important things. And sometimes God. And especially people. My husband. My children. And maybe, more especially, myself.
I am learning that I must say, “no” if I am going to have the energy to say, “yes” to time to care for myself so I am able to care for the people closest to me. I need to be able to give them my best yes.
And I wasn’t.
And in many ways I still am not.
I’m getting better at taking care of myself and my core responsibilities, but guys – it is. so. hard. to say no. I still (whyyyyyyyy??) care a little bit too much about what people think of me, especially when I tell them I can’t/won’t/shouldn’t/mustn’t do whatever it is they ask/want/expect of me.
Well, this weekend, I’m over at the Catholic Sentinel talking about this very thing, and about harnessing the power of ‘no.’
Which, by the way, is NOT a dirty word. Although it does still make me shudder and twitch a bit still. Just a bit.
I’m working on it.
God bless y’all,