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.
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?
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.
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.
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.