The Power of No

Like you I tend to stay busy.

Work, social life, community activities and so on can lead to many full days. And since I do freelance speaking and consulting as well I can stay in overdrive.

If I let my self.

One of the advantages of age, and there are many, is that you finally start to clarify things and understand things.  I realize today that the same general values I had as a teenager – being kind to others, inclusiveness, love of the arts – are still with me today. I have a lot of respect for the intensity of the teen years, and the wisdom of teens in general.

Today however those same values have been tempered by experience and I have learned that being kind starts with myself. As I write this I’m still struggling with an upper respiratory infection. I pushed too hard and got sick. The other day I got up early (even for me) and paid for the short sleep all day. Being kind I think starts at home. Taking care of yourself and putting limits on your demands.

So yesterday declined alate afternoon meeting having it re-set for today. I made time for lunch with my good friend SS because it’s one of the high points of my week. Work pressed, but social outlets need to be addressed. I rewarded myself by changing my schedule for today so I could be closer to home and get a good breakfast before heading out. And last night I got ten hours of sleep. I was able to say to extraneous demands. 

We wonder sometimes how our lives get so full, how we got stuck on the proverbial hamster wheel. Why one day seems to bleed inexorably into the next and the weekend seems über short and unsatisfying. Thought he reasons are myriad the solution is one: we need to learn to say no.

Saying no directly and upfront doesn’t have to hurt feelings, the things we profess to being afraid of. It’s odd how many unaware and uncaring people in the office claim to not want to hurt feelings… Regardless, our unwillingness to say no puts us in our own Sisyphean hell. Whatever drives us to acquiesce and say yes to countless demands the fault is still ours, for we have the power to say no.

Self-care has an awful lot to do with self-monitoring and diagnosis. When we are feeling rundown and spent the causes are few and simple: diet, sleep, exercise. Avoiding excess coffee and alcohol. We know what works. And for anyone who’s ever taken a few days off and gotten away we know how good it can feel to truly be relaxed.

But that’s the gift in today’s message: we don’t have to go on holiday to get this relief. We can have it every day simply by learning to say no to requests that don’t fit well in our lives at the moment. Being kind to yourself allows you to be more capable since you are more refreshed and ready. 

Saying no means saying yes to a better you in work, social and civic settings.

Saying no is good for you. Practice is slowly building this skill as you would any other, and when you get to the point where you manage your day as opposed to the other way around, you too will see the power of no.


2 thoughts on “The Power of No

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