You all know that the topics I write about here aren’t coming from a place of high-and-mightiness, right? I’m usually writing about things that I’m in the process of learning, or learning again, myself. Rumi said that “When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from one who has never left home.” So, good news if you happen to be interested in taking my advice: I’m definitely right there on that journey, too.
There’s a thought that has been running through my mind lately, and for good reason. It’s this saying that “No is a complete sentence.” It’s hard to believe that, though, isn’t it? And when you do, it’s really tempting to qualify it with all the reasons that you just have to decline, or how sorry you are about it. For many of us, saying “no” doesn’t feel like enough. We think it has to be about something outside of our control, because we aren’t allowed to just not want or be able to.
Why? Why is what we want or need not sufficient?
What about those times when it isn’t about saying yes to things you don’t want, but rather there are so many things that you do want, that you hesitate to say no to any of them. Then, you end up overcommitted, stretched too thin and eventually, burned out. In those cases, the person you feel like you can’t say no to is yourself.
But you are saying no, really, because you’re declining the opportunity to determine your priorities, or what resonates most with you, and align your actions accordingly. You’re saying “no” to taking care of yourself, and using your energy intentionally for the activities that matter most to you.
When you make a choice, you’re always telling someone no. How often is that person, by default, you?
Being a grown-up is definitely about doing things you don’t necessarily want to do, at least some of the time. It’s possible that maybe you sign up for a little more of that than you need to, because you don’t want to be the person who lets other people down. You can make that choice, of course, just make sure that’s what it is.
You can say yes. You can also say no. If you do, remember that nothing needs to necessarily follow it. Your honest, authentic and intentional response to anything is always enough.
Photo credit: Ryan McGuire