The Subtle Art Of Saying No

The way we're living is toxic.  To our inner being, our relationships, our health, and the way we interact with the world around us.  I've had this conversation with so many people recently, and we all feel the same, yet powerless to change it in any meaningful way.  Life is just ... busy and full and overwhelming. 

And even when we know it's good for us, it's actually hard to say no.

If you're a parent you'll know this.  If you're caring for your parents, you'll know this.  If you're in a relationship of any kind, you'll know this.  If you're working for someone else (or for yourself), you'll know this.

Some people say it's not hard to say no.  I want to believe them but I'm not sure I do.  Because I know that for most people saying no comes with guilt or a consequence that's going to be difficult to deal with.  What I know about guilt is that it's a powerful (if messed up) motivator, and what I know about consequences is that they're very real. So I think it's fair to say that actually it is usually difficult to say no - even if we're doing it for a valid reason.

Also, the process of saying no to someone or something involves saying yes to ourselves. 

Even harder because it's seen as selfish or not working for the greater good or letting someone down or involving failure of some kind.  You know ... the typical self-chat around that one.

For me, it's taken some health issues (which I'll write more about in the future) to really wake me up to this idea. You'd think I'd know this, right? Well, yes. My conscious mind is well aware of it but my subconscious drivers still struggle sometimes.

That's the tricky thing. We have to keep moving past those thoughts that tell us our body will keep going, we're not that stressed, we don't feel that anxious, that we just have to do this one more thing, that we have to provide, that next month or next year we'll start saying no.  Those thoughts are SO powerful because they're fed by caring too much what other people think, fear of letting others down, not being enough, not fulfilling our promises (perceived or real), not doing enough, and on and on...

That's the real work - to get past those drivers that tell us we're not already enough in some way.

That takes time and persistence. But here's a reminder to get you started.  

You deserve to have space in your day to do something you love, to relax, to spend time with loved ones and to enjoy life.  You deserve to be happy and to be well. THAT is the priority.  We are really here for such a short time.  So go for the bike ride, play the golf, take the walk, play the game, ask for help, say no. 

Give yourself permission.  You definitely have mine. 

Image: Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash