I felt like I was getting somewhere...and then an another series came sliding into my Inbox. It felt kind of like having someone come and put a stack of papers that need your signature on your desk just as you are packing up at the end of the day.
So, I kept at it, finalizing details for some upcoming church events, scheduling a meeting time for a group that’s finding it difficult to come up with a mutually agreeable time, coordinating plans for a meeting next week, the list goes on…
I looked anxiously at the clock and realized that half of my morning had gone by already, and I hadn’t even gotten to the task I had sat down to do - writing for my blog. I looked outside at the sunny yard and garden and realized I probably wouldn’t get out there to plant my seedlings before the kids arrived home.
In the time it took me to cringe over all of this, three more emails slid into my Inbox.
And I found myself suddenly needing to say NO to it all.
I got up from my desk and walked downstairs. I had been looking forward to writing my blog post, but now I just felt fried from being chained to my computer screen. I knew I wouldn’t be getting any writing done.
Sometimes, saying NO is actually an act of saying YES. In this case, I was saying yes to my garden, saying yes to peace of mind, saying yes to self-care, saying yes to healthy boundaries, saying yes to outside time, saying yes to feeling empowered.
I went outside and planted my tomato and squash seedlings. And it felt great. I was in a good mood when the kids arrived home and ready to come inside and help them get snacks.
Saying yes by saying no…
It can be hard to say no, especially when there is disappointment or disapproval on the other end. Luckily for me, my Inbox didn’t complain at all about being left to it’s own devices for a few hours. But other situations are harder to walk away from - whether it is work responsibilities or requests for help from others, or jobs at home like making dinner.
I say no to my kids all the time. And I don’t lose a lot of sleep worrying about having let them down or worrying about what they’ll think of me. I know eventually they will understand what I’m saying yes to (things like outdoor time, healthy snacks, and respectful relationships).
As I learn to create clear boundaries around work commitments, volunteering and my knee jerk reaction of living up to others’ expectations, I can channel my parenting boundaries. And I can turn my no inside out and remind myself of what I’m saying yes to by choosing no.
The next time you find yourself wanting to say no but holding back, ask yourself, “By saying no, what will I be saying yes to?”
Chances are, you’ll find some yeses that you are excited about, yeses that will help you voice that no.
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