Knowing No.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who I am, how I value myself, and how my actions line up with my self-value. I’ve played the fool more times than I care to name because of fear that I wouldn’t have opportunities over again. The problem is – I feared that about everything, even things that I should have been completely comfortable in letting go or saying no to.

Ash B 10.14

I’m still working to recover from my “yes” complex. I have generally governed myself according to the idea that I should be open to many things – open to everyone’s ideas, open to being personally available to everyone even at personal cost, open to every opportunity that presents itself. I figured that if yes was my answer every time, I’d get more accomplished, and people would love me more, and I would be happier. But this has not only been proven wrong, it has been proven to be personally detrimental and profoundly draining. I know the Apostle Paul spoke of “becoming all things to all men” but I’m now convinced that this is not what he was referencing.

Don’t get me wrong – being open and available has afforded me some great experiences in life. Flexibility and dependability are probably considered to be among the top favorable character traits. However, people like me tend to not know when to say “when” aka setting boundaries is not our forte.

So I’m learning to be selective with who and what I give my yes to and it’ll probably be one of those lessons that will literally be a life saver. I used to think being selective sounded conceited and self-important but it really is wisdom. At some point, I have to stop and ask myself “is this optimal or is it just available?” Some open doors lead to rooms, some open doors lead outside to a bigger world, but some open doors lead to closets too.

It’s OK to be open to opportunities, to be there for people, and to desire more. However, life will teach you how to discern what to say “yes” to and you’ll learn to cherish a wise “no” over an overly ambitious “yes.” You’ll learn how to give of yourself and how much to give of yourself over giving blindly without reciprocated action. You’ll learn to love the tension of choosing what’s best over what’s temporary, fleeting, or simply not good for you.

Loving yourself goes beyond liking what you see in the mirror, I’m learning. Loving yourself includes the way you avail yourself, who you avail yourself to, and how you communicate your worth to yourself through your actions regarding yourself.

One of my newfound favorite bloggers, Mattie James, said this in one of her blogs and it resonated deeply with me:

As I get older…I’ve realized that my best decisions have come from instinct versus trend or emotion. I used to be really bad at saying “no” to people because I was afraid of them being upset with me or “not being there for them”. Or I wouldn’t say “no” to certain brand opportunities because I wouldn’t want to “miss out.” But what I’ve learned? Saying yes to everything waters down your value.

Value wisdom, value instinct, value you.

One thought on “Knowing No.

  1. “I’ve played the fool more times than I care to name because of fear that I wouldn’t have opportunities over again.” << this is SO real. I agree with you and Mattie, it's hard to feel like you don't want to miss out but harder to deal with the consequences that come with being everywhere all the time.

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