Hello, all! I am so happy to have some time and energy to be here blogging today. //happy sigh// That said, I have the focus and energy to create this blog post because of one little word–no–and the choices I made to honor my own productivity cycles and personal challenges. My life choices, my routines, and my balancing act are paying off, and I’m starting to heal, recover, and find my footing because of two tiny little letters in one itty bitty word.
Saying ‘no’ is a powerful thing. Just look at any toddler first learning the word—the moment that she realizes she has such agency, that he understands what his words can do is a huge if at times challenging step in human social development.
The thing is, it’s not that much different for adults. We have to re-learn how to say ‘no’ but it can be a life-changing event. So often we are taught that to be a good person, we have to be everything for everyone, that we have to work harder, be more and more and more and that we must offer a resounding ‘yes’ to all that is asked, requested or even demanded of us.
‘Yes’ can take a toll, though. So much so that one day you try to do what you’re used to doing and instead of you answering in the affirmative, your body offers a painful, even debilitating ‘no’ of its own.
No, I cannot, and I will not cooperate. Initiating shutdown in 3…2…1…
This is a dangerous place to be. The ‘no’ that comes from poor health, stress, strained or broken relationships is a ‘no’ to our highest good and best life.
What I have learned from this summer is that a healthy, balanced life must be a carefully-crafted thing that we create one decision at a time and build upon day by day. Just like the seasons, our bodies have their own energy and productivity cycles. We cannot hope to be everything to everyone and nor should we ever strive to be—that is not healthy or even possible. But working with our own natural cycles and tendencies, knowing our own thresholds, and understanding work flow or even sleep patterns creates the foundation for mind/body/spirit health. Part of this balance is knowing when to say ‘yes’ and, you guessed it, the other part is learning the power of ‘no.’
If your friends and family truly love you (they really do love you, ya’ll) then understand that they want you to be healthy. Part of a healthy life is knowing when to take care of yourself. If your instinct is screaming out that you need to take a sick day, budget social media time more carefully (in an election year, this can be crucial, for example), watch or partake of gentler entertainments, or opt out of stress-heavy job projects then listen. Examine why, take a look at what might be out of balance, and wield the ‘no’ you must give less like a defensive shield, and more the gentle place of empowerment that it is. If you offer your ‘no’ with integrity and respect, then only respect can follow. If you offer a resentful or strings-attached ‘yes,’ the negative intention set in that acquiescence will set up patterns that can become unhealthy, and send the message that you do not respect your own time and energy.
Are there any of you out there exploring the power of ‘no?’ I hope you are all well and thriving, and that the coming days provide encouragement, empowerment and some lovely down-time here and there!