Friday, December 16, 2011

the art of saying "no"

I read a fabulous essay the other day about a woman ( a mother) who had recently moved to a new town and who's daughter wanted to be a girl scout. So they signed up. But there was no one to be in charge of the cookie selling and the mother reluctantly went to the first meeting knowing all the while that she did not want to.
Apparently none of the other mothers did either. She felt bad as her daughter had her heart set on this aspect of being a girl scout but simply realized it was not within her power or family's best interest to attempt to take on this added responsibility.
I had to give her props. It's hard to say no. Especially to your children. And to others who have certain expectations of what a mother should be doing.  going above and beyond for those in her family. Pushing herself to the limits until she is ready to break.
Go hard or go home right?
And then I saw this fabulous poster on Pinterest

Wow.
How appropriate is that?
At first I wanted to be offended.
 Of course I can do it all!
I am superwoman/mom!!!
But then reality kicked in. No, actually I cannot. Nor do I want to.
Because "doing it all" means sacrificing something at some point.
My time with my husband, sleep, my sanity, time with my child or just simply time with myself.
Doing things I need to do to take care of me.
To run this house efficiently and effectively.
See, the past two years I've learned the hard way what happens when I stretch myself too thin and I don't choose to go back to those ways/days so I make it a point to limit myself.
It's better for all parties involved if I do.
But admittedly, it's hard.
You want to be there for people, be everything to everybody.
Support that friend, go to that lunch/dinner, make those treats for the classroom and then volunteer for the party, help out a family member.
Those are all things we can do daily but when those extra things creep up (being a GS cookie leader for instance) it just stresses us out even more.
It's not helping anyone.
One of my girlfriends and I have a similar personality streak in that we are people pleasers.
Chalk it up to a warped sense of inadequacy as children and always wanting to be the best, or the very least 'helpful', a need to be needed, we have a tendency to do for others.
And that's all well and good if we limited it to what needed to be done and within our means.
But there have been times when we both have gone above and beyond for someone who is not likely to return the favor to us.
And that stinks.
Both of us have learned that sometimes we need to just say no - it's not always pleasant and guaranteed some people will not like it or be pleased but hey what is it they say?
"you can't please all of the people all of the time"????
The major point I guess I'm trying to make is that it's completely okay to say no to things from time to time.
Especially if you get that little nagging voice in the back of your head that groans inwardly when asked to do a favor or go out of your way.
Just simply say "No. I am unable to at this time"
You don't really have to offer an explanation for why, it just simply is the way that it is.
This time of year is especially hard for us people pleasers.
We want to say yes to every party, event and occasion.
We want to get gifts for all on our list even if that means breaking the bank.
It's been hard getting out of this habit but little by little I've been breaking it.
I've had to turn down offers to do things I think that I could handle, but would have required a fair amount of juggling, and I'm okay with that.
Because as I've learned,
I can't do it all.


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