The Gift of “No”

Posted on December 2, 2012 by


How many of us feel that we have to be all things, to all people?  Well, I would like to say that I was firmly placed in the front of the line on this topic.  I would just about wind myself into a tight little ball so that I could do it all, be it all, and provide it all.  If someone asked me, “Michele, can you…” I would just about have the “yes” out of my mouth before they finished their sentence.  Not disappointing someone was higher on my list than taking my own needs into account.  I would figure out a million ways I could take one more thing off someone else’s plate, make their day just a bit easier, less hectic and fuller, for them.  Since there are only 24 hours in a day, and my day was already packed pretty tight, I would figure what could be removed from my day in order to make room for their needs.  That could mean doing the minimum for a workout or scrapping it altogether, missing a meal because I couldn’t be doing both things at the same time, cutting my floor time, much like my workouts, to minimal or none that day.  Even though I knew I was putting myself on the list last, I figured I was a “better person” because I was making sure so many others were happy.

Several months ago, when my life got really wound tight, and I was becoming conscious of the fact that my “self” was the least cared for on my list, I started to use the magical little word, “no”.  At first, saying no was very foreign to me and I would find my internal voice scrambling at ways to figure out how to make it all work so that I was accepted and I didn’t disappoint anyone.    But then, I started to realize people embraced the word “no” and their day kept moving forward, and amazingly, my day moved forward too; ironically, the Earth continued to spin, the sun still rose in the morning and set at night.

What was even more powerful was that I found a new level of joy and happiness in MY life.  I started creating more time in my day to take care of me, to be present, to foster relationships (instead of tasks) and I felt better overall.  My life was and continues to be filled with things to do; the big shift, however, is that my needs and self-care fill up a larger portion of my “list” each day all by using two little letters….N and O.

The best gift you can give yourself this season is the gift of the word “no”.

Michele John

GT Certified Coach