I don’t necessarily mean “no” as in “no, I’m uncomfortable with you driving to your home for drinks and ‘entertainment.'” ‘NO’ is useful when someone tries to coerce you into doing something you just don’t want to do.
Case in point: when Mrs. Nosey Pants from the Garden Club Steering committee begs you to post flyers all over town for their upcoming event, you feel like a jerk if you don’t do it. Of course, you have a full-time job, your kids are still at home, you volunteer once a week at the local shelter, and you have three dogs. You simply to do not have the time or energy to take on one more thing.
The people like Mrs Nosey Pants are experts in winkling you out some of your valuable time—they know just how to tug on your heartstrings. Before you know it, you’ve been roped into taking on yet one more thing. People like this know how to get at your soft underbelly, and they always do it with a smile. They walk away, satisfied that there is now one LESS thing that THEY have to do, and happy that they successfully suckered you in to do it.
Most of us really don’t like to say ‘no,’ especially for a good cause. So we keep taking on the one more thing until we finally realize that we are tired to the bone and have zero time for ourselves.
The trap that many of us fall into is that, down deep, we don’t really believe that we deserve time for ourselves. We yearn for an hour-long hot soak in the tub with a glass of wine, a great book, and a shovel full of really expensive bath salts….but no, your son needs help with his book review, your twin girls need help with their science project, and all three dogs are whining to get out for a long walk.
We start to feel guilty each time we take a moment for ourselves, if only to just breathe. But here’s the thing; you are a walking pitcher of water, and when you pour all that water out, there’s none left for you.
If a friend told you that she is so tired each day from all her responsibilities that she feels dead on her feet, and the last time she had time for a cup of coffee was three days ago. What would you tell her?
You’d tell her to let some things go for her own peace of mind and health. You would tell her what a dear friend she is, and that she is so much more than her responsibilities. In fact, those responsibilities would feel a lot lighter if she had a bit of time for herself.
You would tell her to take that precious half hour to put her feet up, watch a bit of TV or read a poem, or just close her eyes for five minutes. You would tell her that she is worth it; that she matters and that you care deeply for her.
Now: go look into the mirror and tell yourself those same things.