Let me be honest, when I saw this week on my list at the beginning of the year I dreaded it. I struggle with saying, “No.” And when I say struggle, I mean S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E. I think it has to do with my upbringing. Now, don’t get me wrong, my upbringing was fine. No major trauma. I don’t feel like I have one of those stories where I’m working though the trauma of my past.
However, I was brought up to be a pleaser.
There was really no way around it. I’m the oldest of 4 children AND the only girl. My childhood memories all revolve around caring for my brothers, helping with the family business, and striving for perfection in my academics, my athletics, my music, and my activities. Add to that a conservative christian upbringing where it was frowned upon for women to rock the boat and say “no” to obligations charged to them by their husbands, family, or God and you have a recipe for a disaster on your hands.
Even today, knowing that “no” is a difficult concept for me, I still struggle with it, but in a different way. Typically those opportunities to say “no” aren’t in relation to unhealthy choices (for the most part); my life is a carousel inundated with fun and engaging choices. As an adult, Jason and I often have extended family in crises who need us, to the detriment of the attention of my little family nucleus. I have a demanding day job where it is often seen as a weakness to say “no” to additional or extra working opportunities provided by management. However, that takes me away from my family, as well as those activities that bring me joy. My part-time business can literally be worked anywhere at anytime and for that reason I am always feeling guilty when I’m not working, or, in the alternative pushing to keep myself active to the detriment of myself. We have an active friend group and with so much fun going on all the time, it feels impossible to say “no” to any of the activities and plans being made.
You see what I mean. These aren’t bad things.
It’s just that sometimes, the myriad of choices don’t support who it is I want to be as a person.
Over the weekend, I listened to a Podcast from Super Soul Sunday (thank you mother Oprah) that hit on this topic so resoundingly that I have listened to it three times now. “Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter”was one of those Aaah Haa moments that I haven’t had in a long time. Here is the basic premise for me:
Developing the ability to say “no” is the only way you are going to discover what you are meant to be.
How you ask?
Because when you stand firm in you “no,” you open space up to live in your “yes.”
Think about that for a minute. By saying “no” to the things that don’t honor, that don’t support, and don’t sustain who you were meant to be you can’t make room for those things that are really important to you. I am SO guilty of this. I feel frustration all the time because I don’t have time for those things that I find most important. In reality, it’s my own damn fault.
Yeah, I said it, It’s my own damn fault.
By worrying about others, by being a pleaser, I have over-committed myself in detrimental ways. I haven’t made space to live in my yes.
So this week, let’s flex that “no” muscle a little bit. We can all make space to live in our “yes’s” and really, that is what is most important.
Make sure to check out Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter. Available on iTunes. Here is a video link to her full “You Matter” sermon. (Oh and if you don’t think it’s a sermon, watch the whole thing….It will have you saying “AMEN” by the end)
Fair Warning: I am an Amazon Affiliate. But here is a link to one of my favorite books right now. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.
Her chapter on about the word “NO” is about as life-changing as can be…if you are open to it. 🙂