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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Learning How to Say NO is a Fine Art....

"Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough."
--Joshua Billings
Perhaps it's just me, but lately I have had to say no a bit more than I am used to. This could be a result of me just having too many spoons in too many pots--a stay-at-home-mom by day, freelance writer/Sundance jewelry artist by night.
As a newly-labeled "single parent," I am trying to prepare myself financially and emotionally for all that being alone truly entails. And I am really looking at all of the things that I used to say "no" to and questioning whether I said no because I really didn't want to do them, or if it was a filter that I used for my soon-to-be ex spouse.

I wish I could say I've always been good at saying no, but I haven't. This time of my life has truly forced me to look at the things that are important and push out the rest; every single day I am looking at my list and wondering if I should/could do this or that.
Because I have such little time, I am always asking myself the perennial question: does saying yes speak to truly who I am? Am I saying yes out of guilt or obligation? Does saying no free me to be the person I am and honor
who I am?
This may sound like a silly exercise, but I encourage you to ask yourself the next time you are asked for a favor. Instead of saying yes on "auto pilot", stop just for a second and ask yourself whether it is right for you.
As women, we are not trained to think this way, but I can tell you that it is liberating to put yourself first and draw a little line in the sand--saying no can be the best thing that you do.
If you've said yes all your life, don't expect others to be happy with your newfound "no" button.
Recently, a store who sells my work on consignment asked if I would do a custom piece for a customer. She told the customer I would do it before I had agreed to it. When she asked me if I would, I weighed the benefits to me--and found out that my time was worth a hell of a lot more than spending a few precious hours on a project for her customer that would result in a measly $30 in my pocket. So I politely told her "no."
I got back a curt response, the kind of response that would have made me feel too guilty to ignore and in the past would have made me change my mind and say yes even though I didn't want to. But this time I didn't rescind my answer--this time I stood up for myself.
All too often we do things for others that aren't coming from an authentic place. In this current place in my life, I am forced to ask myself the "why" of doing things that others ask. I have to say that while this has been a very challenging time of my life, this lesson has been a huge gift. And for that, I am grateful.

1 comment:

  1. You're right. 'No' can be very freeing. You go girl!