Yesterday, I said no.
If you’re like me – a woman who tries to multi-task and do everything for everyone – then you know how difficult saying no can be. And yet I did it anyway. For my own sanity.
A few months ago, a friend asked if I’d like to join her in a get together and chat with other aspiring writers about writing. I said, “Sure. Let me know the details.” At the time, I thought it wouldn’t be stressful because we had so much time to prepare.
But then the details never came (of no fault, I’m sure, of my friend). Then, two days before the date she asked if I could get together to work something up. My heart dropped because I realized I’d need to tell her no.
*Side note: When a writer pens something like “my heart dropped” I would typically advise them to describe the moment in a better, more descriptive way. However, that’s exactly what I experienced. My heart felt like it dropped into my stomach.
Since my mom has been in need of additional care, my work progress has suffered. I’m behind a lot – something I’ve rarely been in my life. I’m always on time, always prepared, and always on top of things. Yet, despite being behind, like most women, I have still been taking on task after task when asked by friends simply because … well, it’s what we do as women. We can do everything! Right?! Sleep’s not important! What? I didn’t eat today? No problem!
Nope. Not this time. I’d come to the end of my rope that day and was barely holding on. My chest felt tight as I looked over the long list of “little” things I had yet to accomplish. Now I was disappointing a good friend by saying no and that came with additional guilt and stress.
Why do we do that? Add guilt and stress onto an already stressful situation? It’s like a special gift we women have, don’t you think?
I tried to rationalize how I COULD help her out. Don’t we ALL do that? What would I need to do to make it work? Was there any minute left of my day that I could squeeze this in? As I began to consider what would need to happen, my chest grew tighter. I couldn’t breathe. I began to cry.
Last minute things don’t work well for me. I am a prepper. I PREPARE for everything, usually weeks or months in advance. I like to be ahead of things so I can deal with any issues that come along. But I didn’t have time to prepare and I didn’t have time to even … THINK about preparing.
I said no. And I cringed as I did so.
She said she understood. I hope she does.
I still feel bad, but I know she’ll forgive me. I know we’ll still be friends. (I hope.) And I took care of the most important thing – ME. We all are preppers. We like to prepare and be ready to take action. Sometimes, we simply need time to prepare our hearts and minds to start over. That means rest. We need to shield our rest time. We need to make time for rest. Schedule it into our busy calendars. Let our brains breathe for even ten minutes.
I said no. And it gave me time to breathe. It was so freeing, I might say no more often. Shocking, I know. But something has to give and I don’t want it to be my heart, my health, my walk with God, or my marriage. Those are the most important things to me and I need to protect them at all costs.
By saying no.