One of my most common traps, has been my complete inability to say ‘NO’. It doesn’t matter whether I am being asked to do something quite minor or something that is big and may have a lasting impact both on myself or my family, my automatic response is to say yes. I am a ‘yes’ person and everyone around me knows it. I think I say ‘yes’ because whom ever it is asking me, thinks that I will be able to complete the task well and to do so would make me ‘important’ in their eyes. Back to the word ‘important’!!
Recently, I was asked “what does the word ‘No’ mean to you?” I answered it completely honestly without hesitation. “It means ‘failure'”.
Once I had said it out loud, I realised how wrong it was and it shocked me that failure was my first thought. How had I got to that point? Why on earth was failure linked to no? I still don’t know the answer to that question but, I knew immediately that my outlook had to change before I drove myself into the ground.
I started to tell myself the word ‘No’ actually meant drawing some boundaries for myself. It meant taking control. It meant strength and knowing limitations. I started to tell myself that saying ‘no’ would be ok.
Yesterday, I got my chance……………………………. I had a message at 8:45am asking me to call work because someone was sick and could I come in? (on my day off). In days gone by, there would have been no hesitation. It would have been a quick call to say I was on my way.
Instead, yesterday I had time to consider and to think about what the impact would be. It would mean cancelling an appointment I had, it would mean not making it to my daughter’s piano lesson. But, more importantly it would mean stress and no time to spend time on myself and my recovery.
So, I phoned back and I said ‘NO’.
I can not even explain the satisfaction I got out of it!! It felt so good. It felt good because this was a huge step forward. For once I was putting myself above what I have always considered my duty. I was taking stock and knowing, that in order to stay strong and happy within myself, I could not give in to my old ways of overworking and exhaustion. I was putting myself and my family before work. And that, is what I should have always been doing.
And was there any guilt? Well, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I did feel some guilt. Guilt for the patients that had to be rescheduled and guilt for my colleagues. But, I am super proud to say, I did not let that overcome me and I did not let that interfere in the rest of my day. I moved forward and attended my appointment which I very much-needed for my physical health, I went to piano and watched my beautiful daughter doing something she loved and I went for a swim. All things that I love doing and feed the very essence of ME. All of which I would have missed, if I had of said ‘yes’.
So that is my hat-trick. This week I have achieved three things I couldn’t have imagined two weeks ago; I said no, I asked for help with the kids and I stopped a bad thinking habit on Sunday night. I am super proud and I am feeling super important ……… to myself. Not to anyone else, but to ME.