Saying “No” Revisited . . . Alternately, Maybe One Day I’ll Learn This Lesson . . . Alternately, June is Off Limits . . .

Somewhere about mid-week last week, I had a small meltdown. I reached the point where if one more person asked me to do one more thing, I thought I might lose my ever-loving mind. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault. It was and is the result of having two kids, who are in two very different ages/stages, in two towns 20 minutes apart complicated by the fact that not only was I emotionally and physically drained, but my youngest, who has some not always so obvious special needs, was also feeling the pressure of “too much”. When she gets overwhelmed, I not only have to manage my emotions but hers as well, and her threshold for getting overwhelmed, because of her history and unique needs, is much lower than most children her age.

I’m an introverted, type A, enneagram 1 personality. I need . . . I crave . . . structure, order, and routine, and as much as I love people, too many people, too many activities, too many projects do the opposite of energize me. As a rule, I’m a pretty energetic person. I don’t need tons of sleep. I don’t need days laying on the couch watching Netflix, but I need time alone to regroup. I need time to read my bible and pray. I need to write. And even though I don’t need a ton of it, I do need some sleep. The month of May (nor the month of April . . . and honestly, most of this year) has not given me that.

So, while most of what has gone on is unavoidable, I’ve decided that I’m going to make sure that June does not hold the same level of crazy for our household. I’m giving myself and my family the gift of “no”. If you ask us to be “there” or do “it” (wherever and whatever “there” and “it” may be), there’s a good chance the answer will be “no”. I’ve already talked to my oldest about this, and while I think his social/school/athletic activities are very important, I am also a big believer in making sure our kids have plenty of unscheduled, downtime.

Every time we say “yes” to one thing, we’re also saying “no” to something else. Unfortunately, the things we often say “no” to are not the correct things. We end up saying “no” to the people and relationships that are most important, in addition to our own peace of mind, in order to keep others happy.

If I’m learning anything in this stage of my life, it’s that I need to have boundaries, AND also, I need to respect the boundaries of others. They are essential to functioning in a healthy way in this world. If someone tells me no, I need to respect that even if I don’t agree with it, and I do NOT need to guilt trip that person into feeling like they have to do whatever it is I’m asking of them. I need to remember that just because I take something on, does not mean I should expect others to take on that same thing.

If you’ve been around for a while you know that I’ve written about this more than a couple times. So why write about it again? Why share all of this? Because I 100% know I am not alone. I am absolutely certain, I’m not the only one struggling to learn and live by this lesson. And I have no doubt, too many of us are walking around, taking on things we should never take on, saying yes when we should say no, and we’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and running ourselves physically and emotionally ragged. We’re sacrificing ourselves, our relationship with God, our marriages, our families at the altar of pleasing others and being busy, at doing all the good things (and yes, this includes church activities), and it’s not worth it.

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