Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Delicate Balance Between Saying Yes and Saying No

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. This year Eric and I did an event gift for my brother and sister for Christmas. We got together yesterday to actually do it, and it included a day trip up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where we visited three breweries (Smuttynose Brewing Company, Redhook Brewery, Portsmouth Brewery) and delicious pizza restaurant called Flatbread Company. 

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It was a fantastic day with wonderful people that I am very lucky to have in my life. 


I have blogged before about how one of my life goals is to say "no" more, and not agree to things just because I will feel guilty if I don't. I say this is one of my life goals because I think it is not something I will ever fully master. Does anyone? Sometimes I think I don't even really want to, since some of the best things I've done in my life I've been unsure about at first.

Today I read an interesting blog post about The Emotional Disentanglement Glove, which is basically about being able to say no to something without feeling like a terrible person. But I also read another article by Tina Fey about how many opportunities she has had in her life because she has played by the rules of improv in her real-life, always saying "yes." The idea is that even if you think maybe I'm not ready, maybe this makes me a little nervous, just say yes and then figure out how you will do it later. 

These two articles and the thoughts behind them have summed up for me where I want to be with saying yes or no at this point in my life. I want to say yes to things I am afraid of, like going on a helicopter ride, or teaching something new to my students, or meeting blog friends. I want to say no to things that do not fit into my life right now, not because I'm scared but because I just cannot do everything and I have to prioritize what I want most. I want to say no to things that I would only say yes to because I feel guilty. 

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Without a specific goal, I think I did well with this in 2012. I said yes to another helicopter ride, to an 11 mile beach hike and another crazy hike up on a mountain a few days later. I said yes to a photography class where I learned how to operate my camera. I said yes to meeting amazing blog turned real life friends. I said yes to two triathlons, a swimming class and a 5K. I can't remember what, if anything, I said no to, but I think that's okay because saying no probably means it wasn't that important to begin with. 

This year I want to say yes to more quality time with everyone I love, more travel, and more triathlons. I want to learn some words in a new language, make lots of photo collages and continue to say yes to reading books, even if I'm not sure they are ones I like. I will say yes to things I don't even know exist yet. I like that. 

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  1. Great post!!!

    I try to say yes more these days, because no is my default, and it causes me to miss out on things. I definitely get FOMO also.

    So, in my personal life, more yes (unless it's requests for help, in which case I need to ration those, but in terms of invitations, or DOING things, then YES).

    Professionally, more no (time is precious and I need to focus on only things that pay a return). I used to be dazzled by all the event invitations I got but now that I've been to quite a few I've realised they're usually awful, so unless there's a big sit down dinner to make it worth my while, I'd rather relax at home.

  2. I'm SO in agreement with you. It is VERY difficult for me to say "no"--- because I worry that I will upset someone or offend someone. However, I realize that people SHOULD just understand and if they don't, well...maybe I should reconsider how much they value ME! I cannot run myself ragged just to please others. My own family and what is best for us should come first.

    I LOVE the things you've listed you WANT to say YES to in 2013! I'll help teach you some Spanish words :) Or Italian! HAHA And I hope I'm one of the blogging friends you get to meet in 2013 :) Red Bandana 5k, baby!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Great post! I feel the same way as I struggle with drawing the line on when to say no and when to say yes. I definitely said yes to a lot of wonderful things last year, like opportunities to meet more bloggers in person (like you!!!), yes to a blind date with Phil, and yes to being a board member for my running club. I have gotten better at saying no during CFA study season and I don't feel too guilty as people are usually understanding.

    Now, as you know, I am sort of being forced into saying yes to something I have zero desire to say yes to... But I am hoping it ends up being one of those life changes that I can look back on and be thankful I did...

  4. I think you make a really great point. Just because you want to become more assertive in your own life doesn't mean you want to dismiss every opportunity that makes you feel slightly uneasy. I used to be a YES YES YES person, because I loved filling my calendar and being on the go ... after I met Sweets and definitely after we had Gavin, I had to learn to pace myself, which means I cannot always do everything I want to do. A slower life doesn't mean a less interesting life, so long as your yes's become more intentional. Here's hoping 2013 is full of intention for both of us!

  5. I am sooo bad for wanting to say no to things because of being "lazy" and hang out at home. haha. But 99% of the time I'm glad I say yes because it ends up being lots of fun! I RARELY say no to things so that's something I should work on!

  6. I have a hard time saying no too. I just want everyone I love to be as happy as possible! Great blog!!

  7. Oooo, good post! I am not good at saying no, either.
    And sometimes I say yes to the wrong things, as in things I wish I hadn't said yes too.
    Good food for thought, here. I haven't decided yet how I'm going to say yes or no!