Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The art of saying no



For many years, I said yes to 99% of invites and pleas for help, regardless of how much I already had on my plate or how packed our weekend was. I'll do it. I can help, no problem. Sure, why not? We'll be there with a covered dish and a bottle of wine. I'll schedule things back to back to back and I'll drive myself batshit crazy fitting it all in.

Photo: zazzle.com

I began to feel anxious and tired instead of feeling joy as I approached the weekend. That simply would not do. Re-evaluation was in order.

I know what makes me a happy and well functioning adult. I like to live in an orderly house. I like to have food prepared for the week so I don't spend every night cooking after work. I like to read. I like to watch my shows. I like to walk my dogs over to the fields so they can run. I like to get good sleeps. I like my yard to be neat. I like to have quality time with my husband, family and friends. I like to stay home and enjoy my house. I like to paint my nails so I don't look like a homeless person. I like to do TV crossword puzzles. I like to have time alone, to do whatever the crap I feel like doing.

Photo: youropinionmatters.me
I pride myself on being productive and extremely efficient, maximizing my time. But even I know it's impossible to do all of those things and say yes to all invites too. I can't say yes to everything anymore, and frankly, I don't want to. I hate excuses, so I'm not going to give you a song and dance about why I can't do something. I'd rather just say I'm sorry, I can't. It's just that simple.

Photo: blog.openviewpartners.com

Only for most people, it isn't. Many people have a hard time saying no, even if they absolutely don't want to do something. Why is that? They're afraid of hurting someone else's feelings.

I am not Sally Sensitive, but I get that. I do. I don't want my friends to think I don't want to attend their soiree. I don't want my family to think I'm casting them off if I don't attend every family event. And I'm married to a man who says YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES! to everything because he truly does want to attend everything even though it is impossible, which makes the graceful decline even more difficult. The graceful decline must be done, for my own sanity. There are enough things in the world that drive me crazy. I don't need to add myself to the list.

It's hard to strike a balance in life, even though it is for the best.

Photo: crystalvault.com
The bottom line is that if you don't take the time to fulfill your own needs, you aren't much good to anyone else. The phrase "If mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy" exists for a reason. Too often, women push their own needs to the bottom of the pile and address the needs of the children, the husband, the boss, the parents, the friends, the volunteer positions, and so on, first. By the time they get to themselves, they're out of steam. It's time to change those priorities, ladies. Men are good at this. Take a lesson. Make sure you have what you need to be in a good place mentally, emotionally and physically before you give your time, strength, and energy to the needs of others. Taking a few hours to do something YOU want to do will make your soul soar again and give you enough strength to say yes when you want to say yes.

Continually doing what you don't want to do or have the time or energy to do turns most people into a cranky bitter pants. No one wants Bitter Betty at their party, so just politely decline once in a while and admit you can't do it all. You're not missing anything earth shattering, and your friends or family will be even happier to see you the next time.

People who are inviting me somewhere or asking me for something know me well enough to know that when I say no, it's not because I don't like them. I do like them. It's just that I like me more, and I have to take care of what I need and do what's best for me. I have no qualms saying that to anyone, the second coming of christ included, and anyone who takes issue with it is free to take the matter up with my behind as I turn around for you to kiss it.

Photo: daviddust.blogspot.com

I need another of my "do nothing weekends," where I'm just not doing anything that weekend that requires me to leave my house. Period. I used to make exceptions and say "Oh well I have to do that..." Actually, I don't. What I have to do is recharge my batteries so I can be the best at my job and function well in all the various roles I play in people's lives without feeling guilty about taking time for myself.

And that's that, poppies.

p.s. You know how Tuesday always sucks? Yesterday, a Tuesday, Rick Santorum dropped out of the presidential race and I took a new kick ass class at the gym. So +2 to you, Tuesday. Well played. 

15 comments:

  1. I think I am going to print this out and hang it on my refrigerator so I remember that saying no doesn't make me a bad person. Thanks for the reminder. SusieQ

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  2. Love it, as usual.
    Carpe diem! A big carpe diem weekend ahead with
    temps in the low 80's. Just perfect.
    love you!
    Your Momma

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  3. I've gotten much better at saying no, though it's still hard sometimes. Love the Flo reference!

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  4. Oh I totally know all about this! My husband is a "YES Man" too...I love this post! Thanks for the reminder. :)

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  5. Amen! I'm one of those people who have a hard time saying no. There's too much to do and so little time...and so many Oreos to eat. Mmmmm Oreos.

    Thanks for linking up!

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  6. No more song and dance is the best - I have no problem saying no, ask my husband :)

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  7. True words. It can be a difficult lesson to learn, but it's so helpful once put into practice!

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  8. After trying to be everything to everyone and ending up being no-good to anyone...I now have no trouble saying no. In fact, I might even say it before you've finished what you were gonna ask me. The last year has been me taking more time for me.
    revolt was inevitable.
    but resistance was futile.

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  9. Sometimes it feels so good to say no. I think the more you do it, the easier it is :)

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  10. Right on! Truer words were never spoken!

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  11. I am soooo glad you reposted this over at Sarcasm Goddess's site. I have been known to take on way too much at my own expense.
    Thank you, thank you, for reminding me to say "Hell, no."

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  12. I need to read and re-read this at least once a week. And then send to my family and make them do the same.

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  13. I love this, and that Rick Santorum dropped out. Tuesday is making a comeback!

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