“NO is a beautiful word that creates a whole lot of YES once you’ve said it. It may seem negative, limiting, or pejorative, but used wisely it can be a gateway to freedom, preserving energy for the pursuits that are truly high-priority.”
~ Pixie Lighthorse in “Boundaries and Protection”
I recently read Pixie’s book and found a tremendous amount of wisdom in it. I love the truth in this quote.
I’ve been saying no for a long time. I did it a lot in one of my jobs – keeping my staff focused on important work and not being pulled every which way at the whims of people who had an interest in projects that while interesting, we’rent critical to our mission. I’ve been doing it in my personal life ever since I started struggling with the early stages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
No to things that don’t resonate with me. That isn’t that hard, as long as I’m not trying to make others happy. No to things that do resonate with me, that is harder. I might like to do a thing, but know I won’t be up to it, so I say so in advance. No to something I already committed to, that is harder.
I practiced that several times last week as I had a CFS crash. A few things I cancelled were low in importance and had no time restrictions (like coffee with a new acquaintance). IBut another was harder. have a standing date with a good friend to attend Ithaca’s monthly Gallery Night. I look forward to spending that time with my friend, as well as being a part of the creative community. But I knew that even if I “could” do it (which was unlikely, but perhaps possible) that I would pay so magnificently for it that it wouldn’t be worth it. So we caught up on the phone, and I watched some TV. I was disappointed, but it was OK.
But I also issued that NO because there was something else special that I wanted to say YES to. Having crashed on Thursday, been rough on Friday, I really wanted to be able to go to a play with a friend on Saturday. I rarely go to the theater, and the tickets were free. And I knew that it would require very relatively little of my body as long as I didn’t set myself back. So Friday’s NO, led to Saturday’s continued YES, and a request for a ride instead of walking, and lovely night out with another good friend and an intense, well-acted play. If I’d pushed myself Friday, I couldn’t have done that.