READING BETWEEN THE PINES

If life's about the journey, does it matter how many bathroom breaks you take along the way?

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 helping others. It’s how I chose my career and why I like to volunteer. Simply said, giving 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 the monthly meeting, yes I’ll run you to the airport. Yes, yes and yes again.

YES

YES, I too was thinking that to carry a Sears and Roebuck photo shoot, a full-on snow suit and fuzzy head pom would add just the right touch.

Saying yes feels great. Until the day comes that it doesn’t. 

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? Or yes to chairing the Mom Prom committee when all you really want is to squeeze into that 1988 peach sequined gown, tease your hair to gravity-defying heights, grab a bottle of Mad Dog, and hang out in the corner of the gym?

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YES, I would love to still have my mom’s circa 1975 flowered sofa featured in the background of this pic. But the matching prom gown and shoes? Not so much.

When you realize 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 commitments, something’s gotta give.

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.

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This stargazing, Bartles & Jaymes sipping, burnt bangs girl used to have a hard time saying no.

Following my parents’ well-intended advice into adulthood, I thought the word “no” was inconsiderate until the moment, passed out on top of my laminator with a glue gun stuck to one hand and a pair of needle-nosed pliers in the other, I realized it actually protects my relationships. Saying no is all about balance, because if you don’t safeguard your time, everything else is compromised.  

So now, when my desire to give to others comes into conflict with my need to take care of myself, I 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 gift – to yourself and to the people you care about, so that on the occasions that you choose to say yes, your heart, mind and intentions and are completely aligned.

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YES!!!!

In addition to the multitude of things that inspire me to write, I’m a contributor to our local community paper, The Castle Pines Connection. Come check out the neighborhood and people who make it meaningful at www.castlepinesconnection.com.

 

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “The Power of Saying No

  1. Susan Francke says:

    Oh how I remember that star gazing Bartles & James sipping girl (though pounding might have been a more appropriate description 🤪). That picture . . . That girl. Love and miss you.

    1. Miss and love you too! I’ll be in L’ville when Taylor gets out of school so we’ll go to dinner and talk about the big hair days…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Once again….fantastic! Now, as long as you say “yes” to another cocktail with me, we’re all gooooood! 🙂

    1. Always Angelena! Thanks for the visit and comment~

  3. Tiffany C Diehl says:

    Sage advice!! I broke my habit by saying “not now”…and it’s surprising at how the world moves on and finds another poster-maker, committee leader, scoreboard keeper when you aren’t available. It can take some getting used to when your identity is wrapped up in “doing” versus “being.” I’m raising a better daughter…she already sad no to the green satin beauty featured in the photo. Much love!!

    1. Ha! Great comment and thoughts Tiff. Thanks for taking the time to comment – sounds like you’re doing everything right with your daughter. Love our peach and green prom days and will track you down next time I’m home!

  4. Pat says:

    So very true. And I’d go further. Listen to your body, because even the things you decide you want to do can leave you exhausted. The gap between leading a full and busy life and being permanently dog tired is small. Research shows we all sleep less than our ancestors and I don’t remember my parents rushing out to table tennis, squash, drama club or whatever each evening. We push ourselves hard without noticing how drained we’re feeling, until we have no more to give.
    Good post.

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