As children we’re taught to just say no, and we do it continuously and persistently.
You need to sit in the pram. No! You need to come inside and get ready for dinner now? No! Let’s turn off the TV and go shopping? No! Do you want to wear this dress to go out today? No! You know where this is going.
Then we get older and learn about etiquette. We get that sometimes we need to do things that we don’t want to. We understand that other people’s feelings matter and we need to consider them before making decisions.
What we don’t always learn is how to find a balance between doing for others and doing for ourselves.
We say we value our time, but it’s difficult when we field a million requests through whatsapp, text, email, calls, and even voicemails.
We know we need to hold our ground if we want to be productive or stay sane – but we don’t want to disappoint anyone, or even worse, leave them hanging when they need us.
It’s important to offer compassion and make sacrifices, but being everything to everyone will eventually backfire. At some point you won’t have much left to give.
You’ll go through the motions, but you’ll feel exhausted. You’ll give your attention, but it will be distracted. You’ll say you don’t mind, but you’ll feel resentful.
Decide today what time and activities you need to do for you, and then make sure to do them. If someone makes a request that conflicts, unless it absolutely requires immediate attention, tell you them you’d love to help but you have something important planned.
Whatever it is, it is important. You can only be strong and useful for the people around you if you honour your needs as much as theirs. If you really want to make them happy, do what you need to do for you, because people who love you want to please you just as much as you want to please them.
Learn to say ‘No’ and take time for YOU today.