Simplify Your Life Series - Part 3 Saying NO
Saying NO; for some of us it can be really hard to do, but there is nothing that will simplify your life more than learning how and when to say NO.
You might be someone who is always willing to help others and that is a great thing, but sometimes you should be willing to help yourself out first. We have all heard advice about filling our own tank so we can be there for others. It is so easy to overload yourself trying to be helpful. I am guilty too, I use rationalizations like; “it’s right on the way”, “it won’t take me anytime at all”, and of course “they need my help, I am the only one who can do it”. It is very flattering to be needed, but setting limits is absolutely essential, otherwise you will overextend yourself to the point of exhaustion. We feel guilty for saying no, even when we know it is the right thing to do.
The idea of Superwoman is a myth; in real life we all have our limits. For some reason, women in particular have a really hard time asking for help. We try to do it all, and then berate ourselves when we don’t measure up to our own impossible standards. When you overcommit yourself, often you wind up not only stressed, but you rob others of the chance to actually help you out once in awhile. You might be the best event planner in the P.T.O. but if you are always in charge then other parents will never get a chance to learn what they are capable of.
I found this out the hard way when I fell and broke my ankle; I had to rely on others to do almost everything. It was incredibly frustrating, things didn't always get done the way I would do them, but I didn't have a choice. It was a difficult lesson, but an important one. Once I let go of my impossible expectations, I began to see how others were willing and able to step up and help too.
As I get older I have noticed that I am getting better about saying no. I am allowed to have reasonable limits; I cannot do everything. Life is simpler when I say no.
Previous posts on simplifying your life included issues of Cleaning out Clutter and Simplifying your technology, and my next post in this series looks at Having a plan.