Friday, February 24, 2012

Saying no to saying yes

OK, I’m about to sound like a self-help book. You’ve been warned.

But I think this will resonate with so many women, running around trying to be the perfect wife, mom, employee, volunteer, board member, party planner, cook, hostess, artist.

It’s exhausting! I’m learning the hard way that being a people pleaser and having the utmost guilt for saying “no” is so taxing on your spirit. Others can be so demanding of your time, and yet when it comes to taking care of ourselves and the ones we love most, or savoring a moment of bliss, we somehow feel like we don’t deserve it. When something comes up that threatens to sacrifice your perfect Sunday of doing nothing, you toss and turn over the decision to do something you definitely don’t want to do, but end up doing any way because you can’t say no. Like a hamster on a wheel of “busy.”

One of my very best friends is this way. She flits from obligation to obligation, always with a smile on her face. I don’t know how she does her life.  She is the ultimate “yes girl.” But I see in her tired eyes, it’s wearing her down.

I hate that every single day I say “I’m busy.” I can’t remember the last time I said I was bored.   

One of my favorite lines from Eat Pray Love was when they talked about the Italian phrase for “The Beauty of Doing Nothing.” –“il bel far niente.” I sure would make a great Italian.

Our priorities get out of whack and it’s just a draining feeling that affects every other aspect of our lives. (You mamas out there are probably saying “Just wait to you have kids.” I know. )

This makes me think of reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Are all of these obligations, meetings, boards, events, direct sale parties, banquets really making you happy? Or are they depriving you of your own well-being? Are they making you a better friend, a better spouse? When you don’t have enough time to make a thoughtful gesture, laugh over a home-cooked meal, visit with your grandparents, express yourself creatively…are you living the life you want to live?

There’s no better time than now to take stock of what makes you feel alive and what obligations drag you down. Sometimes saying no, is really saying yes.

Now, I'm going to go meditate on this as I drink a hot coffee and get a 90-minute massage. And I won't feel one bit bad about it!



  1. My gosh girl, this really spoke to me! I am always go go go go and my focus is my family but somehow they are not in focus. Does that make sense? I'm so busy trying to create something wonderful for them that I'm not making life wonderful for them RIGHT NOW! Thanks K girl, I needed this. xoxo