Sunday, April 17, 2011

You say yes. I say no, no, no. (but in a polite way)

image via, quote by Albert Einstein

Are you a yes man?  I would answer yes to that question, although I think I used to be more of a people pleaser than I am now.  It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I have a friend who is very good at knowing her limits.  Not only does she recognize what she can handle and what would be too much, but she really sticks to it and is not easily swayed to overextend herself.  She can see the consequences to going beyond what she feels capable of, and she doesn't want to become the kind of person that it makes her when she's spread too thin.  She's gotten really good at saying no, and not in an unkind or rude way, but in a responsible and purposeful way.

My friend is busy.  She manages her home well and finds much time for service in her community and for those she loves.  She is a committed mother and homemaker.  She is very deliberate in how she chooses to spend her time, and she finds success and satisfaction in her chosen pursuits.  As I've watched her, I think some of her success can be attributed to her ability to say no.  From the outside, it seems so liberating!  And who knows, maybe if I did a better job at recognizing my limits and then living within those self-imposed boundaries by saying no, I'd feel that same liberated feeling!

But, there is another part of me.  And who knows, blame it on the handmade movement with all the creativity and lack-of-limits, don't-hold-back, if-you-can-dream-it-you-can-do-it inspirational posters that are found across the internet.  This part of me wonders why I would put limits on what I can accomplish.  This part of me says that part of the growth that comes through life is to learn to get out of that comfort zone.  This part of me says that if I feel spread too thin, I can seek help from a higher power to get me through, and it will all work out in the end.

And now you see my conflicted thoughts.

Recently I found a blog opportunity that sounded kind of fun.  I am really content with how things are going with Bee, but it seemed like a small time commitment and a good opportunity, so I signed up.  And then the details came.  And then I realized that maybe it was a bigger time commitment than I initially thought I was signing up for.  And I had all these thoughts about yes and no already on my mind.

This new commitment would have increased my time on the computer, I'm guessing by at least an hour a week.  Would it have increased my readership?  Maybe.  But right now, I'm more concerned about the growth of my children than the growth of my blog.  So I sent an email and said no.  I knew this wasn't something I could commit to right now.  And while a little part of me felt guilty, a big part of me felt relieved. 

So I've had my first trial run.  And as good as it felt to say no, I'm still feeling somewhat torn.  Do I try out the path of no and find out just how much I can accomplish when I set boundaries for myself and my family?  Or do I continue to say yes, buying into the creative mantras of dreaming it=doing it, and trusting that I'll somehow continue to get done everything I set out to do? 

Please weigh in.  Do you set limits for yourself?  Do you wish you did?


Hannah said...

I so admire your courage to say "no." It is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are saying no to something that is so appealing.

This week, I had a similar experience. I have been working hard on a new project and it was just starting to take off. My husband and I both had the feeling that I should stop. And that night, I deleted everything I'd done over the past month with this project. I cried a bit. But, in the end, I know it will be better for me as a mother. And the kiddos matter more that our blogs/businesses/social media projects.

I don't think your regret what you did. You are a wonderful example. I adore this blog, Christina.

Karen said...

I've been stalking your blog for a while now, and just wanted to chime in here and say that your previous post says it all. You must trust your gut. It will all work out as it should if you do.

Katheryn said...

I definitely think it's good to try new and different things and to push yourself. But it is so important to know your own limits. Saying no can be good. What we say no to will be different for each of us too, so we should always be respectful to others if someone is saying no to us.