Saying No to Say Yes (March Post #5)

  • Yes, I will do that.Slice of Life logo
  • Yes, I can take on that committee assignment.
  • Yes, you can take those books.
  • Yes, I will …fill in the blank

I grew up in a family and religious community that yes was expected from you at all times. If someone asked you to do something you did it. If they needed you to give something away you did. It was the right thing to do!  At least that is what I was told.

It works well as a child with caring and responsible adults but that pattern persisted as I became an adult myself. I have worked and lived in a caring community so yes has been ok for me most of my life. I can usually do the things that people needed or wanted.

There is one glitch in the yes way of living. Life can get very busy when you are helping everyone else. You are always working for someone else, completing someone else’s desires or needs. It does mean that people are almost always happy with you and that can that feel great. So you continue with the yes life because it feels good!

Well, sometimes it does.

The problem with a yes life is that you are also saying no to something else. It is what life is about. Yes, I can do this so no I can’t do that. For me the no I can’t do this came back to the personal parts of my life.

I said yes so

  • there is little time to go hunting for pictures to take
  • the garden does not grow into the garden I had dreamed of doing
  • the personal writing doesn’t get done
  • yoga doesn’t happen daily

You see the pattern I let go of the personal events that are important to me. This is where I think I have finally learned the lesson that was not taught to be as a child. It is not a matter of saying yes all the time. It is a matter of balance (my OLW – one little word- for this year and last). My resolution for 2014.

I am learning at my old age that I can say No. It is ok to say no so that you can find that personal time.  The time in the garden or hiking with a camera or writing. Ok – there will still be times that I will say Yes I can help with that but for awhile I am going to practice the No word.

This means that the job that just showed up in my life I am going to tell them No. I don’t need to step into the political craziness of the teacher evaluation system again so soon.

I believe my camera battery is charged, the sun is shinning and I am going for a walk.

I guess I did say Yes but this time the yes is for me!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Reflection. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Saying No to Say Yes (March Post #5)

  1. lmkersch says:

    JL, Thanks for writing about balance and the importance of self. We have been taught that “no” is a four-letter word, evil incarnate. Why would we not (fill in the blank with the latest request)? There are many good reasons, perhaps the most important is that if we are not doing a task with joy in our hearts, we probably aren’t doing it well. Another is the resentment that builds when we repeatedly are forced to do for others and never meet our own needs. Thanks for the beautifully-written reminder! I look forward to reading more of your writing.

  2. This I totally need to take to heart. I need to say Yes to myself and start looking forward to this new life that I will start soon. xo

  3. jhaworthoy says:

    Such a wise post that many of us need to heed. It is okay to help as much as we can…but sometimes we need to say YES for us. I like that you are out taking pictures….I just might do the same! Jackie

  4. mgminer says:

    This is also the lesson I am trying to learn. Pleasing everyone else brings some satisfaction (but not always). My word is “replenish,” which is what I need after too many years of saying, “Yes.” It’s comforting to know that I am not alone. Thank you!

  5. Tara Smith says:

    I loved the sense of empowerment in the last line. Good for you!

  6. jbmiller73 says:

    Something we all need to remember

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