When “Learning to Say No” Doesn’t Work, Try This Instead

It is not what you give of yourself thatdepletes you, it is what you have failed to give to yourself. Healthy boundaries, alone time, sleep, a 100th second chance… because when you fail to recognize that you cannot keep filling up everyone else’s cup if you’re running on empty then no one wins.

We say no all of the time, but rarely to the benefit of ourselves. There’s no problem telling ourselves no all of the time, but heavens forbid we let someone else down. I used to be told constantly that I need to learn how to say no to people, but that felt so out of line with being useful. It feels so negative. Besides, what would I be doing with my time and resources that’s so useful ifi did learn to say no? Read? Take a hike?  I can do that anytime. Learning how to say no to others didn’t force me to say yes to myself,  it only made me feel lazy and selfish.

I know I’m not alone here, have you ever felt like, “I’m exhausted, but who am I helping if I’m taking a nap? I can push through, I mean there are people working 60 hour weeks for pennies an hour for crying out loud!”? I think you have. I think we all have.

Apathy is a huge issue (and a sore spot for me), but service under obligation is just as disheartening. Nothing gets solved if there’s residual resentment in offering help. We all want to be nice, good people though. We love our friends and family and would gladly bend over backwards for them. Certainly can’t say no, remember that time they were there for you – you owe them.

But this isn’t about being selfish,  this isn’t even about weighing in on where the giving is coming from, (love v. obligation) that’s for another post entirely. This is about saying yes to yourself and learning that sometimes this means saying no to the world.

What is the last truly nice thing you’ve done for yourself? What is the last thing you’ve done to fill your energy resources? So… if you’re not filling that well, who is?

FOMO, favors that feel more obligatory than obliging, cash giveawayfree-for-alls – all this does is drain you. I don’t believe in giving unless my whole heart is into it, I believe in sharing when the overall goodness (instead of lack and other yuck) is multiplied. By all means, if it’s put upon your heart then give.

If it sounds like I’m telling you not to give unless it aligns with your energetic bottom line, well I am.

Giving your time, money, and other resources only has a positive effect if you’re handing it over with love and that’s pretty difficult when you feel like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. We know where compulsive yes-ing lands us and we still continue to say yes to everyone but ourselves.

Don’t keep running around on empty; it is not only a disservice to yourself, but to the world. Taking care of yourself isn’t indulgent or selfish it is necessary to ensure that you’re in tippy-top shape to keep spreading your love and light.

What do you do when you feel yourself running on empty?
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