This post is really written for me, but might be helpful for others.
Saying “no” means saying “yes.”
Sure, we’ve all heard the anti-drug tag-line, “just say no!” since elementary school. And as children we knew not to accept offers for illegal drugs. It meant bad things. But what I think they didn’t manage to teach well in grade school was that by saying no to drugs, we are saying yes to a healthy life free of drug addiction.
But somewhere between fifth-grade and adulthood I (and probably many others) have lost the perspective we had when we were little. Not about saying no to drugs, but in saying no to things that are offered to us in relationships, career, and life. We all talk about striving for “balance” (I should know – it’s one of the most popular DESIGN YOUR LIFE intentions), but are we ready to actually follow through on that goal?
I find sometimes I struggle with saying “no” to things that I don’t want to do or feel right in my gut. There are times out of (perceived) social pressure, I feel I should say yes to something simply because it is in front of me. For example,
- I should say yes to an offer to do a social activity I don’t enjoy.
- I should say yes to more involvement than I’m comfortable with in a philanthropic situation.
- I should say yes to spending more money than I really want to when going out with friends.
- I should work longer in the evenings during my off-hours, if that is what others are doing.
- I should say yes to drinking one or two extra glasses of wine when out with friends.
What I am working to realize, on a daily basis, is that by saying no in those situations I am really saying yes to the following:
- I am saying yes to doing fun activities that I genuinely enjoy with others.
- I am saying yes to my gut and intuition, volunteering in an authentic way.
- I am saying yes to my intention to save more money.
- I am saying yes to balance and being the best person I can be.
- I am saying yes to living a healthy life with moderation.
Though I am still working on these intentions, there have been times when I have spoken up for my inner-voice and said no to similar situations.
I find that when I do so, saying the simple phrase “I just want to be honest” followed by my polite decline is helpful. Not only that, but usually the response is completely accepted by the other party, and releases me from the phantom guilt of “I should.”
Anyone out there feel the same?