Saying Yes Means Saying No Thanks
One of my intentions for this year has been only agreeing to do things that are a passionate “yes!” I don’t mean the ordinary routines of daily life, like doing the dishes or taking out the trash. Those are an automatic “yes” because I want to have a pleasant living space. I mean the invitations or requests we receive on a regular basis from family, friends, and acquaintances.
In the past it’s been hard for me to say no to these events. The screening of a new documentary, an evening of meditation, cleanup at a local beach, the myriad of homeschool field trips and various parties and celebrations all sound like fun. But when I say “yes” to too many, filling the calendar with social time, other parts of my life suffer. I don’t have time to devote to writing or other creative projects, family members get cranky and stressed, and we don’t have time to nurture ourselves with healthy meals and sufficient down time. That’s why I’m being more selective and letting passion be the guide. When it’s a family event, I talk to each person to figure out their needs and wants, and how they feel about participating. Together we seek to balance our needs for social time, volunteering, travel and exploration, family time, and solitude.
I still love to say “yes!” There are some events that are clearly in that category, and others that need to be pondered a bit. But I’m also learning to enjoy saying “no thanks.” It’s a matter of realizing that we just can’t do everything, and that if we try, it’s no fun. And no matter what we may fear, the friends doing the inviting will understand a simple and polite “no thanks.”
Try this method for a while and observe the results. If an invitation elicits a positive feeling of “yes!” then go ahead and add it to your schedule. If that’s not the case, let yourself say “no thanks.” Do it without feeling guilty or trying to justify. You don’t need to provide a reason. If someone asks, you can simply say you’re busy. It’s okay to be busy with your own projects or a quiet night at home. It’s your time and time is one of your most precious resources. Saying “yes!” to some things means you need to say “no thanks” to others. When you practice this deliberately, you’ll be happier and more able to enjoy the things you love and share yourself fully with those who reached out to invite you.