Last week, we talked about how our hectic schedules and crazed multitasking has led to a sort of busyness epidemic for a lot of us. We tackle more than we can handle (even if these are things we enjoy), and the result is a whole lot of burn-out. So, how do we set aside the time and space to experience a bit more tranquility? Say no.
If you’re anything like me, telling people “no” can be difficult. I don’t like conflict or confrontation, and in general, I like to make people feel good. If someone asks me to do something or simply needs me to be there for them, I consider it a privilege to be able to help them. For me, telling others “no” often feels like I’m letting them down, and I have a hard time allowing myself to realize that this is simply not the case. If I want to be able to have the time, energy, and capacity to help others when I can, it’s just as important that I take care of myself, which sometimes means putting my own needs first. After all, you can’t pour from an empty vessel! We have to take the time necessary to replenish our own strength before we can be of help to anyone else.
So, how do we do actually do this? If a spouse asks us to help put the kids to bed or one of our children needs help with his or her homework, do we just say, “Sorry, nope. You’re out of luck!” and wave them off? Honestly, only you can know the things that are too much for you in any given situation, but I find in my own life that the things I most need to say “no” to are those extra things that eat up my precious time (like agreeing to teach yet another last minute yoga class after four hours of sleep all week). Sometimes, though, it’s more of an emotional something that you decide you have to say “no” to, such as allowing an acquaintance to dump their problems all over you when you’re in a hard place yourself. These instances are particularly difficult for me because I am so invested in always listening to and supporting the people around me. However, I have to realize that I am not always the person best equipped for such support, and the friend would be better able to find the solace she needs through counseling or another similar avenue.
This weekend, if your schedule or emotional capacity is packed to the limit, reflect mindfully on your commitments and see if maybe, just maybe, there is someone who you need to say “no” to. If you do choose to tell someone “no”, do so firmly yet lovingly. Maybe you’ll even inspire that person to in turn say “no” to something in their own life that’s been weighing on them.
Have a lovely weekend, Shabbat Shalom!