Learn How To Say No.
That’s the advise I’ve been given numerous times over. I’m a people pleaser and want to make everyone happy and meet all of the expectations all of the time. Essentially what that translates to is I want to project a level of perfection. Perfection in my physical appearance, perfection in my job performance, perfection as a wife, perfection as a mom, perfection as a friend, perfection as a daughter, perfection as a sister, perfection with the image of my house, and the list goes on and on. But the problem lies in the fact that NO ONE can achieve that. We may all project that on social media but that isn’t what our true lives represent. Honestly if we were all perfect in every area of our lives then we wouldn’t be these diverse beings with unique experiences of our own – and how boring would that be? And although I know this to be true and am reminded of it in my bible study and by reading books like, “Girl, Wash Your Face” (if you haven’t jumped on that bandwagon I would HIGHLY recommend it) I still continue to weigh myself down with obligations to meet an unrealistic standard.
So here I am on Sunday evening, heading into my work week and should be feeling rejuvenated and replenished for my tasks at hand but instead I feel depleted. I’ve spent all weekend saying yes to everyone else – yes to the play dates, yes to the parties, yes to helping out that I neglected my own house and was left with a mess to tackle at 8:00 on Sunday night. And yes, you may be thinking, “Say no to the housework then,” but by feeling like I’ve accomplished my household chores I am happier and feel less anxious going into my work week. It feels like there is a literal clean slate. So instead I did the two loads of laundry, the hubby unloaded the dishwasher, I washed and loaded the sink full of dishes, we took the dog for a walk, I packed my son’s bag for school in the morning, and (finally) called my sister back. All to get on my phone and add to my to do list the things that I just couldn’t squeeze in. This is depleting. I am pouring from an empty cup.
But I wanted to share this in hoping that by being honest and transparent we can all realize we feel like we’re falling short – short of the expectations we set ourselves that is. This isn’t something only you struggle with or I struggle with but I’d say a major part of the population experiences routinely. Did you know on average a human has 50,000 negative thoughts a day? Now THAT is depleting. What if we could change the conversation and reflect on how it is OK to not get it all done? It is OK to say no to a social event. It is OK to set boundaries on how you commit to helping. It is OK to recognize yourself as more than an accomplished to do list. What if we stopped and appreciated the peacefulness or the chaos of the moment we’re in?
For me, nothing brings a level of peace like being in a plane overlooking God’s handy work. It’s breathtaking to admire the beauty of a new place or of the scenery above the clouds that would otherwise be untouchable. So this is what I’m adding to my to do list this week – transport yourself to that place in the sky and absorb the scenery around you. Because the rest of the world is waiting when you touchdown and your agenda will still be there. So if you catch me lost in thought or tuned out this week it’s because I’m going back to this moment of flying over Fiji. I’m losing myself for just a moment to find balance in my chaos and saying no to the to do list, even if for just a moment.