When to say no.
My heart. My world. It’s overcome by people who want a piece of it. There’s a taking that happens all the time—a trespassing into my life that hasn’t been allowed. It’s exhausting for us to live our lives when people are continually taking from us—our emotions, our time, our energy. But guess what, there’s good news. Most of this can actually be avoided! If we allow ourselves to be okay with saying no to people, we can cut down that risk of exhaustion by at least 50%. Sometimes people will continue to take even when we say no. Sometimes that’s unavoidable, but we will never cut that percentage down unless we are actually okay with saying no.
For me, saying no used to be hard, but that was because of fear in my life that said I might lose friends or that said I was being too selfish if I did. I should be aware of everyone’s feelings, right? I don’t want to be rude to people, right? Well here’s a question for you: are we actually valuing ourselves if we allow people to take part of us that we shouldn’t give? People take what we don’t have all the time, and it hurts our souls, our spirits, our bodies, our minds, and the close people in our lives.
Some say we can’t give what we don’t have. Sure we can! We do it all the time. We steal from others to give if we have to, but God forbid we turn somebody down because they want something. Are you hearing me?!? This is what we do. How is that healthy or okay? If they don’t get it from you, they’ll go get it from somebody else. Don’t kill yourself to help someone for a moment, because it really will kill you eventually if you let it. Knowing when to say no stems from an understanding of how well you know yourself, and I hope you are actually applying the stuff I have been saying to your life, because you should know yourself at least a little bit better by now.
It’s all about trial and error. Learn how far you can go, and then stay away from that. Push yourself so you can grow, and then ease up to find a balance. If it hurts, that’s an indicator of when to say no. Balance your life out so that if you know you are crazy busy for a couple days/weeks straight, you know that you will need to say no to some things after that in order to recuperate. This all seems so logical and simple, but so many of us (even me) still don’t do it. We think we can give, and we can! But at what cost? These things really build up, and they have to be let out eventually. It could take years, but trust me, it WILL take its toll at some point. Let’s work to prevent that from happening by cooling off the boiling pot now.
Have accountability to major things you do in your life. (If you need it for smaller things to start out with, that’s fine.) Find a great friend who will ask you how much you’ve been giving of yourself lately, and then listen to them, in order to maintain balance. Don’t be stupid and then keep giving anyway.
Trust your instincts. (NOT THE FEAR ONES; unless there is a specific reason you should trust that.) If you feel you are too tired to go out, or that it will take energy from you and you know you’ve given a lot that day already, be willing to say no. This is a hard one; if you have already made plans with someone that have been set for awhile, but when the day comes and you feel like it would take more than you feel you can give, love yourself enough to kindly and politely say no.
Talk to yourself. Ask yourself every morning how much you feel you have to give that day, and then throughout the day make sure you still have enough in order to enjoyably make it through the time that you have left.
As always, Makarios