Just say “no”

I’m a joiner. Always have been. Probably always will be. What that means is I have a hard time saying “no”.

Admittedly, when it comes to being part of something, I want to get involved. The problem is I don’t have that much time. (Know anyone who does? Maybe they can lend me some?)

I just get so much more out of something if I put something into it. Like at my daughter’s school. Yes, I could just drop her off every day and go in for parent/teacher interviews and so on. But I want to be involved. I want my daughter to see me enjoying her school experience and participating in the activities that happen at her school. I want to give my time and my talents to her school to be able to help out and provide the kids with support and encouragement.

Same with church. Yes, we go every Sunday. Yes, I enjoy the services and the sermons and being with the people we see on Sundays. But I want to be involved. I want to give to my church of my time and of my talents. And I’m not shy about putting that desire out there. You could say I send out a vibe that people pick up on it.

So I get asked a lot to volunteer my time or help out in some way. I love it. It makes me feel like part of something.

But it can be overwhelming, too. I can say “yes” to too much. And then I get tired and cranky and all the good feelings I get out of volunteering start to turn into bad feelings because I’m not looking after myself first.

Right now, I’m reading a book called Nurturing the Soul of Your Family. It’s a great book about how to reconnect and find peace in daily life.

This passage from the book struck a chord with me recently:

“…total self-care also includes eliminating self-criticism, not overscheduling, releasing the need to be perfect, saying no, refusing to do things out of guilt, and giving yourself much-needed rest and downtime to refuel.”

Those words screamed at me from the page, “This is something that you are not good at! Get better at it and get better!”

The passage comes from Part 1 of the book: Heal Yourself, Heal Your Family.

After reading this, I took a good hard look at the frantic pace my life was leading, and I realized that self-care was not part of the picture. And it was time to do something about that.

So, in a first step to healing, I went to my Saturday morning Christian Meditation session, enjoyed the meditation as usual then approached one of the ladies for whom I had half promised to do something and explained that the timing was not right for me to participate in her group and perhaps she could consider engaging me next year if the opportunity presented itself.

I held my breath and waited for her disappointing look and tsk tsk. It didn’t come. She looked at me with kind eyes and said, “I understand, my dear. We’re all busy. Too many commitments that we all have to deal with. I’ll keep you in mind for next year then.”

And that was it. I said “no” and she accepted with grace.

It was a good first step. And there are more steps to come.


7 thoughts on “Just say “no”

    1. Nancy Post author

      Thanks! Saying no that first time is a really good step for me. I hope it makes saying no the next time easier, too.


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