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The Gift of No

I have talked before on my inability to say no. I wanted to link to something or other on that topic, but I can’t find it. But I definitely know that I have told you my tale of woes noes before. It’s hard for me. I want to DO IT ALL. I want to be superwoman, capable of all the things and even the extra things that aren’t really things but let’s pile them on anyways just for fun, shall we?

The problem is I say YES YES YES and then I wear myself out and then I over extend and then I have some regretsies and I don’t feel like I’m giving my full 100% because I’m too scattered or tired or stressed.

That was the recap.

Aside from physical discomfort and massive inconvenience, being pregnant has also given me the very real gift of saying No.

I completely understand that saying no is necessary to happiness and authenticity and not losing your mind, I just haven’t been good at it. It took a force of nature (that shoved me square on my ass) for me to totally get it. It was like a switch went off in my head. One day I was SUPERWOMAN OF THE UNIVERSE saying yes to all the things, and the next I was … um… being honest? “I just can’t do that, I’m really sorry.” Both things true. I wish I could, but I can’t. I cannot. I will have to bow out. I can’t make that happen. I am incapable at the moment of helping or doing or showing up. Some of the things really bummed me out (Outside Lands? Lady weekend 2012? Dinners with friends? Seeing people from out of town who I haven’t seen in years? Shopping! Weekend getaways! Concerts! A pool party!). Ok those are all the things. But, knowing I had to say no didn’t cause me angst, and before it would have been impossible.

Some of the time I said no because I physically couldn’t do it. Some of the time I said no because it wouldn’t have been appropriate to have other people subjected to my inconsistent health. And sometimes I said no just because my priorities have shifted. My body and health comes first. I am currently a vessel, check back in a year.

The point is: Saying No used to be my last resort. I had to have lost an arm in order to say no. And I knew it wasn’t healthy or the way things should be, but I couldn’t help it. It doesn’t matter if I’m sick, or I’m just not up for it, or if I need to choose sitting on the couch and watching old episodes of Entourage instead of doing XYZ – it’s all valid. Saying no is ok. (Yes I wrote that. Me.) It doesn’t mean I’m a bad friend (and it doesn’t mean you are either), it doesn’t mean I’m boring (Ok, maybe I’m boring. I’m cool with it…. for now.), it definitely doesn’t mean I’m a huge failure, it’s just a choice. I’ll catch you on the flipside.

6 Comments

  1. You had me and then you lost me. Well, you lost me at suggesting you were boring. :)

    Obviously you’re not boring! It’s a close cousin to thinking you’re a failure for choosing to say no to this thing in favor of something else, in my mind, I guess, and takes away from the huge power of learning to say No. So I love that you’ve embraced the No, even as you’re acknowledging it took the pregnancy to be your gateway but I do hope you will more fully embrace it as your own tool and not just a crutch.

    I think it’s such a powerful thing to have balance with both your Yeses and your Nos. I think I too blogged about this a bit.

    And now I’m fading so I will end this comment here.

    • I think that balance is key. I think sometimes the pendulum has to swing full across to the other side in order to find the middle.

      For now I’m saying No to almost everything, and that’s not where I want to be (ideally), but where I need to be and I have no angst over it. But I am looking forward to getting more balance, where saying No is more of an easy choice and less of a “This is what I need to do and where I need to be right now.”

      I think it will all even out… but it’s a really good lesson that No doesn’t mean the end of the world or the loss of all things awesome. It’s just one side of the coin.

  2. This seems like such an easy thing from the outside, but I totally get you.

    I’m not even a vessel, currently, but I’ve still had to say no, sometimes to myself (which is a complex conversation, let me tell you!) Do I want to go out and explore my new playground called Chicago? Yes! Do I also have to be up at 6 tomorrow so I can pay rent the day after? Yes. Netflix and sleeps win, at least on weeknights.

    So glad you’ve found your no place :)

  3. No angst over saying no? That’s awesome. In the past few years I’ve been more accepting of my need to say no to things, but I still have the guilt and the feeling of “missing out”.

    I’m really glad that you’re getting to learn some positive life lessons that you already knew you needed to work on through your experience with pregnancy so far!

  4. I’m really glad that you’re putting yourself and your health first right now, especially if it means you learn to say no to things that you don’t really want/need to do :)

  5. I used to be unable to say no. When I was younger I was very much a people pleaser and felt like I could never say no. Eventually I learned the power of saying no and have come to really value it. It’s so much better to say no to something I know I can’t commit to rather than say yes and dread it later/feel obligated/etc. I am so happy that you have found your place of no. And you are right about the pendulum thing. Eventually it will swing back to middle.

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  1. I Can’t Take It Off | I'm Better in Real Life - [...] Pregnancy for me has been saying a lot of no. Sometimes it is empowering, but other times it is …

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Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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