November 08, 2012

NO means... no?

It has been a whirlwind of a week, or two, or three.....
 since they are starting to all blend together in my mind.  To say that I feel busy is an understatement, and I'm certainly not looking for bragging rights. I am simply finding myself in a very familiar place of chaos brought on by my own fatal flaw of over-committment. I find myself again staring up through the narrow tunnel I dug myself into, straining for a glimpse of light (read rest) and am not so much shocked by how I've ended up here..... but why. 

Why do I lack the capacity to say no? Why do I say yes when I know I shouldn't? Why do I set unrealistic expectations for myself and attempt to stretch the hours in the day to accommodate them all?

I don't like to admit it, but I think I am simply afraid of the word "no".  In all honesty, it's not a word I warmly embraced during childhood (save the comments from the peanut gallery) and it is a word that I've stubbornly rebelled against as an adult. No means deprivation, lacking, missing out, falling short, disappointment, and negativity. No is also often followed by one word that distinguishes human reasoning: "why". The problem with saying No, is that if you lack an adequate answer to the subsequent "why", the statement is practically rendered defenseless (Kids, you didn't hear it from me). 

"No" needs a good excuse, and if there isn't one, I say "yes" to things I probably shouldn't, by default.

I also know that part of me thrives on the sinful pride that comes from heaping my plate with insane amounts of mashed potatoes commitments. I like seeing my calendar chock-full of plans for the next several weeks and I like a certain level of chaos that comes from constantly rushing from one place to the next. It's why I couldn't just go to high school or college as a full-time student... but also wanted to work, go to every church event, volunteer for projects, clubs, and internships, and move 4 times while starting out a young marriage, owning our first home, taking care of three pets, and a maintaining a hearty social life. Anything less would be too practical. Seriously, it's pretty sick.

The hardest part about saying yes to so much is that it is never as simple as "yes to good, no to bad". No one thinks too long and hard over going clubbing on a work-night or going on a shopping spree instead of paying bills (if you do, let's talk). It's the "good" things that cause the biggest issues... yes to volunteering, yes to social commitments, yes to more tasks at work, yes to classes and extracurriculars, yes to projects at home, yes to running a household and caring for your family.
I mean, what are you going to say to those....... no??

Obviously, something has to give, right? So I start with sleep...then cancel out the exercise, then eating healthy, quality time with my husband and pets, and quality time for myself and so on... 
and before I know it I'm ordering dinner at a drive thru at 10pm and the only thing I can fit into are my cranky pants. Not my best days.

I know I am not the only one with this struggle but I do feel that I am being convicted to reassess how I am using, spending, giving, and living my time and shed the extra weight of unhealthy expectations on myself. I need to prioritize, purge and practice! It seems that some of my skeletons missed this series

. . .

Do you struggle with saying "no"? How do you simply let your no's mean "no"?



  1. I have to say, I am probably on the opposite end of this as you. I say 'No' more than 'Yes' sometimes--though, thinking about it, that's not necessarily a good thing... Anyway, I totally get what you mean about worrying what to say when someone asks you why you say no. Indeed, that used to be my very problem. But then I realized that I just really don't like doing some things and I won't sacrifice my own happiness just to do them. Now, when people ask me for something that I don't want to do I tell them what I really want, and if it's to say no, then I tell them honestly why I don't want to do it. I suppose maybe some people get offended or maybe hurt, but if I put myself in their shoes, I'm sue there would be times that they wanted to say no too, but just didn't. We all do! As I get older, I realize more and more that it's okay to not want to do something. It's not the end of the world, and there is bound to be someone to take my place. Life is too short to spend time doing oodles of things you don't really want to do. Ya know? And I can sit here telling you all this until I'm blue in the face, but I think it's something you kind of have to realize for yourself. And when you do, you'll feel more peace with your decisions instead of guilt : ]

  2. ME TOO. The queen of overcommitment is RIGHT HERE. Which is why I've been out of town every weekend since October 12th and am hosting my first Thanksgiving like a madwoman...
    Then, I do the pendulum thing and swing back over to "no to everything" for a season. It's not a very healthy way of dealing, but I'm slowly learning my limitations. Which is lame, but I've been told humans have limitations...


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