I had this epiphany a couple of years ago, around the same time I realized I was more introverted than extroverted (more on that in another post), that I could actually say no to things. Things that can add up and fill our precious time. Things that, occasionally, we only say yes to out of a feeling of obligation. Somehow I had been operating under the assumption that, if someone asked me to do something, I needed to say yes. Yes to dinner, yes to working later, yes to ALL bridal showers, yes to babysitting... you get the picture. I was feeling overwhelmed a lot of the time and starting to realize that the days were just flying by and I was mindlessly scheduling up every minute of them. My energy was wiped and I needed to somehow make time and space to just "be," to get alone time, or maybe leave space to spontaneously meet up with a friend. Something needed to change.
In light of this revelation, my actual New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to say "no" more. It may sound sort of selfish, which is something I struggled with, but boy did it impact my life in the best way. My first opportunity to practice this was right at the beginning of that year. I had been invited to a friend's baby shower in a town 2 hours a way. I love this friend dearly, and I really wanted to attend, but I had also just got back from being out of town and was needing a weekend to relax at home (and do laundry, clean etc) before going back to work. I replied "no" to the invite, which was difficult. But in the end, I made sure my friend knew how much I cared for her, sent a gift and I was grateful to spend the time at home taking care of myself. Obviously missing a baby shower is more difficult than declining a lunch invite, but I've found that most people understand and probably wish they were able to say "no" more as well. Pinpointing the need for more space enabled me to better prioritize my time. For instance, maybe I say no to attending a workshop one evening because I know I'd rather have dinner with a friend later in the week. Or maybe attending a cross country wedding isn't feasible financially. I feel free from having to say "yes" to it all because I know I need those "nos" in order to be happy. Another byproduct of freeing up space was realizing there was something important that I really wanted to plug into some of that space, like exercise. Once I had more free time I was able to begin a regular yoga practice. If I had continued to be as busy as I was I would never have made the time for this. What about you? How much of your time is spent with obligations? Are you able to make time for the people/things that matter most to you?
Expect quotes, observations, tips and reflections.