Sunday, 8 June 2014

Learning How to Say "No"

So back in January I wrote a post about my 14 goals for 2014, and the overriding theme (at least in my mind) was choosing to simplify and focus on the things that matter. Now that we are half way through the year, I find myself questioning how successful I have been.

I think I have been making progress in certain areas. But I still very much struggle with the word "No".

Saying "No" does not come naturally to me. My knee-jerk reaction always "Yes. Yes. Yes." And it is often "Yes" without thinking through the ramifications of said agreement. If an opportunity arises, I always want to jump on board. If there is a chance for a new experience, I want to try it. (**What if this chance doesn't come around again?**) If someone needs something, I want to help. If I can do something to make someone happy, I always will. (**What if next time they need something they don't call?**) And as a result I often end up overextended.

Then there are all these events, expectations, work, commitments, and I find myself barely squeezing in the things I really want. And thus, the cycle of guilt begins - I feel guilty for saying "No", so I say "Yes". But inevitably the things I want to focus on get pushed aside, and then I feel guilty for saying "Yes". So here I am overextended, guilt-riddled, and stressed.

Slowly, but surely, I am learning that is impossible to do-all and be-all things. But this is not a reflection of your weakness, as I once thought. Instead it is a reflection of your priorities. And it is okay to prioritize yourself.

So that is what prompted my little blogging hiatus last week. Things had been hectic, and I found myself feeling overwhelmed, and questioning how I would fit everything in. So I opted to take a step back. I lived my priorities - as the lovely Carla Birnberg would say. I chose to slow down. I spent extra time with my family. I rearranged my work schedule so I could head home to Niagara for a couple of days and stay at my Mom's. I met a girlfriend for coffee and girl-time rather than going to the gym. I watched the entire second season of VEEP. I went to the baseball game with my husband rather than writing a blog post. I worked. I prepped for my vacation. I ran. I rested. I restored the balance.

Sometimes we need to step back and say "No", and chose to prioritize ourselves.
In fact I think it may be necessary.
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,