I had homework – taking a look at this inquiry of “what does it mean to say NO?”.
Here is what I discovered from contemplating this…
I am afraid of NO.
In my current struggle (of fighting to get time, nay my life, back) there seem to be two facets.
Removing things currently on my plate, commitments I made before that I am in that space of feeling like I have to see them through, because I said so, because my integrity is on the line if I don’t do it. Never mind that my integrity to myself is also on the line each time I say no to myself or my own dreams, which is what I am ostensibly doing when I say yes to everyone and everything else.
The second one is not over committing in the future. This one should be easier, but what happens is I just look at my calendar for where there are spaces and randomly put things in, without really considering what the complete thing I am committing to is, it is so far away that I don’t care or notice what the real implication is of what I am saying yes to, how much preparation work there might be, or how much travel to get to the event. I always underestimate that. Bites me in the ass very, very often. Often enough that you might think I would learn from it.
So why do I keep doing this (not a powerful question I know, and it does hold a bit of accusation in it, because it does make me so mad at myself that I do this over and over again)? A few reasons.
- I am afraid of pissing people off.
- Afraid of opportunities drying up or going away, so I had better say YES to everything – this is basic scarcity thinking that I am working on addressing through my Daring Greatly Discussion group
- I feel like my needs are easier to push off to the side than others – that I can make it up later, or compress it to a smaller block of time. I always prioritize others over myself, except, or until I get to the very edge of my sanity and then sort of snap and put myself first for a wee while of self-care. Then feel so badly about that that I get back on the merry-go-around and start again.
- I don’t have a realistic sense of time, and how much time it takes me to do things. I am a very good judge of character, a very bad judge of time. It is like I should take whatever time I think I need to do something and at least double it.
And the last one, and possibly the most important one is: the times when I feel most inspired is when I am ON, when I am ON camera, ON stage, ON fire, ON track. This is when I am lit up, and having fun and loving life. Good to know that, right? Problem is that ON and NO, even though in some ways they are so very similar to each other, are miles and miles apart for me. It is that place when I am ON that I find it very hard to say NO, because I am just so excited and see the potential in everything.
What is it costing me?
- My dreams, or my dreams happening so slowly that it hurts
- My serenity, as I spend my time racing around, doing for others, putting them first consistently
- My self-respect, I get so mad at myself and I get so disappointed in myself, and I know better and never seem to do better, then my self criticism starts
- My equanimity, I regularly feel so rushed, so frantic and frenetic. It is not a happy place for me to live.
- My joy, because I am so frustrated with myself there is very little room to be in the joy when great things are happening.
Bottom line is that I need to start saying NO to things I want, like, am excited about. NO needs to become my new best friend.
How to I keep remembering THAT?
I am not 100% sure (as evidenced by the fact the I keep, conveniently, not remembering it – so maybe that becomes my next inquiry).
But here is what I do know:
I know that daily practise is important to me and powerful for me, for keeping things alive and fresh in my brain. More on that later.
I know that pressure works for me (for better or for worse) – the pressure of time especially, when I think I have all the time in the world to get around to my stuff, that makes me complacent, has me put myself and my dreams on the back burner.
I need reminders – but in the form of people telling me, helping to get me frothed up about MY dreams, and MY vision, and MY goals.
What I do know that I need to do now is practise some Nos. I will say NO to five things in the next week. And then see what happens.