The freedom to say no does not equal the courage to say no.
No, I’m sorry I cannot attend the shower/party/wedding/memorial service/fundraiser/luncheon/seminar thing that you have invited me to. Even if it’s a virtual online thing that doesn’t require me getting out of my pajamas. Thanks for thinking of me but I’ll have to pass.
Just because I am invited does not obligate my attendance. Remember how precious my time is? Yours too.
When I was growing up, I did not get invited to a lot of things because frankly there just weren’t a lot of things to be invited to! It was a quiet Midwestern farm town and (yawn) you get the idea. I have been trying to make up for it ever since.
And sometimes, it’s easier to be a social butterfly than it is to sit and deal with your own stuff. Busy = popular = important, right?
Jen Hatmaker’s latest book, For the Love, is an encouraging and hilarious read http://jenhatmaker.com/forthelove. She says (my paraphrase) “To say yes to your good thing means saying no to my family and my sanity”. This is so true. I have been so happy to be included that I often said no to both. I’m not doing that anymore.
She also talks a lot about viewing time and activities through the lens of seasons. I am in a season of freedom! I currently share my house with my 17 year old who is more like a roommate than a child. My schedule is free from carpooling, cooking, any laundry or dirt that I am not directly responsible for. If you have littles, you’ll get there one day too – I promise!
More availability does not mean more activity. I do not have to fill every moment of every day.
Saying no can apply to situations beyond social invitations. This applies to SALESPEOPLE. This is a great strength to have. I have been approached lately by many many people that are doing direct sales for just about every possible product out there. No, I’m not interested. I don’t want to listen to your sales presentation, go to a trunk show, sample your goodies, read the website, etc. I buy what I need where I need it, thank you. It’s simple, it’s short and sweet, and it works.
I was in sales for a number of years, and hearing a “no” is better than a maybe. No is clean, it’s done, and on to the next possibility. Hearing a maybe instead of no gives hope, delays the inevitable and strains the interactions in the meantime.
Saying no especially applies to unhealthy relationships, habits and environments. It’s okay to draw a line in the sand and decide that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Boundaries, people, boundaries. Be good to yourself and say no to the people/places/things that steal your joy.
My friend Beth told me once that it’s okay to pull the weeds out of your garden. Sometimes they look like flowers, but if they just suck all the life out of you, pull ’em out and let ’em go. Life is too short to nourish relationships that are not life giving.
It gets easier as you practice. Just smile and say, no thanks. No one will die or melt or hate you. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Try it!
Thanks for reading, until tomorrow!