Do you ever think to yourself, “Why don’t I ever have enough?” There are so many things you want to do. So many places you want to see. So much exploration, introspection, creation, ideation that you really want to do. But you just can’t seem to ever get it done.
I do that. I know that feeling intimately. And it normally comes at a time when I’m making time for others more than I’m making time for myself.
There’s no way to please everyone. There’s really no way to please most people. But you try. We all do. We try and get people to like us by doing what they need. By being open and available and there. By holding our tongue and not saying what we really feel. By putting them first and us next. By putting their wants first and our wants next.
It can be tiny things, but they drain our strength. Like getting asked to go to breakfast when you really just want to go home and write, but they seem like they really want to and you had a “ya sure” tumble out of your mouth before you could catch it. So go. Or back track.
Or someone asks you to come to their party that you could really give two shits about. You don’t really know them. They’re not a part of your tribe and you could really care less either way. But you don’t have anything else planned for that night. And you end up saying yes. So you have three choices: lie your way out (not suggested). Go. Or just say no, you changed your mind.
It’s that time he wanted you to meet the new woman in his life. Your heart was pretty much there. Pretty much healed. You guys are friends now. Not that big of a deal. But it just felt tough. It felt unfun. You didn’t want to do it, but you said yes. To prove something. To be someone different. To be the totally cool one.
Or when they hitched onto your vacation. You love them. But you don’t want them there. You needed this solo adventure to reconnect to yourself. You needed the independence of traveling through unchartered lands and exploring the culture as much as you explored your soul.
It’s when they really want to FaceTime and you’re just not feeling it. You’re in the middle of something. You’re flowing. But you say yes anyway to help talk them through the problem that you two have been over a million times. Just so you can make them feel better. Flow killed.
Favors. Suggestions. Ideas. Strangers. Best Friends. Family. Acquaintances. Colleagues. There’s a million things and a million no’s you should really be saying in a day. This isn’t new. You know this.
But there’s a pretty rough and real aspect to saying no. It’s the truth nobody is preparing you for and it’s probably the most honest part of saying no, other than actually saying no. Prepare yourself.
You’ll feel like shit. Saying NO isn’t easy. You’ll feel guilt. You’ll worry about regret. You’ll probably feel a little rude or bitchy. You might feel selfish. Or rigid. At first. And then that will get easier over time. Saying no is a muscle that forces you to root in your strength.
You’ll probably want to say yes. Those are the things you must say no to in order to protect your time. In order to move the needle forward on your life, your expansion, your joys—you have to say no to the things you often want to say yes to. You need the no more than you need yes. You need to say no to the killer napa weekend when you have the biggest presentation of your life on Monday. You gotta say no to wine on Thursday when you really want and plan to write on Friday morning. You have to say no to being around for your favorite season of the year when this sabbatical on the other side of the world is what you really need. The no’s you need are often the yes’s you want.
They’re not going to like it. Whoever said that you get to say no and it’s totally fine? Honestly, a lot of times it’s not. They want you at their event. They want you to run that errand for them. They want to come on that trip with you. They want you to use your excel skills and build that model for them. And when you say no, they ain’t gunna be happy. Depending on their awareness levels, they might make you wrong by guilt tripping you. They might event try hard to change your mind. They might judge you. They might call you too big for your britches. They might accuse you of being selfish. It’s absolutely going to happen. From people you love. From people you’ve never met. And that cannot stop you. It cannot keep you from protecting your space, your money, your energy, and your time.
Say no. Say it often. And know what you’re getting into. It’ll all get better the more you do it. And you’ll find more time for all those things that you wanted to do. Magic, eh?
“By saying yes when you need to say no, you cripple the most important relationship in your life; the relationship between you and you.” Nea Joy