Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Beauty of Yes, the Beauty of No, and the Beauty of Knowing Yourself

We've all fallen into the trap of saying yes too often. Maybe it was volunteering for an event or project; maybe it was giving up the only free couple of hours you've had in weeks to help a friend move; maybe it was thinking you could get that book club book read before next month's meeting only to realize that your eyelids have a strange magnetic pull downward every time you crack open the pages and you find yourself an hour later with the only visible progress you can track being the line of drool that crept down your face and onto the pages as you wake up with morning breath… Overcommitment. It gets the best of us sometimes. Sometimes saying yes can be a wonderful growing process and incredibly rewarding. Nothing teaches you just what you're capable of like jumping into it, whatever it may be. Sometimes, however, it can be a trap, and that's when you learn what you want to be capable of.

Okay, really, it's about knowing yourself and knowing your priorities. 

I'm not saying I don't stay late at work, and I'm not saying I don't take on new projects or responsibilities, and I really do love helping my friends if they're moving or need a spare freezer meal, a dog sitter (I'm SO in!), or just need a friend to walk and talk with.  What I am saying is: now I'm starting to better prioritize my time and I work hard to remember that I need to be healthy and happy in order to do anything well. As a bonus, I've found this helps me more fully enjoy those things I do take on. 

Here's a little secret: sometimes I actually enjoy saying no. 
  • I enjoy saying no when I know whoever I would have been working with is less invested in doing a quality job than I would be even though it's their idea or project. 
  • I enjoy saying no when I know it won't be something I like doing (but I do things I don’t like doing when I know it will help someone I care about or when I know it will help me grow as a person). 
  • I enjoy saying no when I know those I would be working with are disorganized or flakey (it's just not worth it). 
  • And I enjoy saying no when I know that if I had said yes I wouldn't have time to do laundry that week and would be stuck wearing the underwear that I always keep at the back of the drawer (you know, the really uncomfortable ones...or worse, the ones with holes...yeah, I went there) and that wonky bra with the uncomfortable underwire.
How have you gotten over your need to always say yes? What have you found to be more rewarding since you started prioritizing wellness (quality) over hecticness (quantity)? 

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