When I was browsing Pinterest this pretty feather circle popped up, and the quote made me catch my breath. Having to say "no" and disappointing people is still a struggle for me. I love to be helpful, kind and available to my friends and family. I want to be able to make plans and do things spur of the moment, but that is just not a realistic plan for my life or my health. More often than not, saying no to plans, friends or things I really want to do is a necessary part of me taking care of myself.
Stress and anxiety are terrible for my health (and everyone's!!) and often act as a trigger for my migraines. I have had to learn that by saying no, I am standing up for what is best for me and ultimately my family. I have to take care of myself before I can take care of them. Knowing that who I am as a person has nothing to do with what I am physically capable of is important. Being a kind, positive, optimistic, helpful person has nothing to do with last minute babysitting, plans or errands. The people that love me and I am closest to know these things are difficult and don't take it personally when I say no (even if I am letting the guilt creep in.)
When you live with chronic illness, you honestly don't have time for people that have zero compassion or understanding. Now, when I say no to things, I do it through honesty and openness. I have boundaries for myself and Jeremy helps me keep them in place, because sometimes I can't do it alone. I might tell him about a babysitting opportunity or a last minute plan for a friend, and he knows I want to say yes, but he also knows when I need to say no. Just because I am at home doesn't mean I am available, and I think that is hard to convey to others sometimes. I don't like the idea of people being upset with me, thinking I am lazy or just making excuses. Over the years, there have been many times when I have said yes to something I knew I shouldn't have, and then I paid for it later. If someone thinks negatively of me because I have to say no, then that is on them, not me.
I believe that by knowing yourself, standards and boundaries you are showing others you know your value and worth. Saying no to little things helps you practice saying no to bigger things. I do not need to make up excuses, I can be confident in my choices and take care of my family at the same time. I want to set an example for my kiddos. I want them to look at me and see a strong person that knows how to make decisions in a kind, humble and loving way.
15 ways to kindly say no...
1) I wish I could, but I can't.
2) It was very nice of you to think of me, but I can't.
3) No thank you.
4) I appreciate you asking, but no thank you.
5) That sounds nice, but I can't make that commitment right now...
6) It's not a good idea for me.
7) I can't take on any more responsibilities right now.
8) My heart says yes, but my body says no.
9) Unfortunately, it's not a good time for me.
10) I'm going to have to pass.
11) I don't want to say no, but I have to.
12) Please cross me off your list.
13) Possibly a different day.
14) Not right now.
15) I know this is important, but I can't.