It’s a word I’m not very good at using. In fact, I’m not even good at the Canadian No. There have been many, many times in my life that I’ve actually said “yes” and regretted it. On the flip side, there have also been many times I’ve said “no” and regretted it. So this isn’t just about getting good at saying “no,” it’s about learning to say “no” to the right (or wrong?) opportunities.
I’ll definitely say “yes” to an opportunity to compliment myself: I’m getting better at figuring out my strengths, where I can really flourish, and where I can not be such a doofus! I recently had an opportunity that, on paper, fit me really well. So I jumped at the chance. I said “yes.” In the days leading up to it I was excited, although a bit nervous. In fact, my nerves and slight anxiety prompted a recent post titled Jogging in what’s left of Hurricane Irma.
I’m not going to give specifics but what I’d be doing is related to work I already do and an area that I am pretty good in. So it makes sense, right? That’s what I thought, too.
But then as I tried to sleep last night I had major anxiety about it. I didn’t rest well, probably waking up 8 or 9 times from the discomfort I was feeling. When I was able to fall asleep, I dreamt about it, which gave me anxiety in the REM world, too. Waking up this morning, all I could think to do was reach out to a trusted friend or two who would understand where I’m coming from, and then pray about it.
It’s just crazy because like I said, this opportunity appears to be right up my alley. It just goes to show that sometimes it must be OK to say no. It has to be. I think I must have an “obliger” personality. More on that here but basically it’s this:
Obligers don’t want to let people down. They want to be helpful. And in turn, they end up with way too much on their plate.
Now, to give a very brief history of my life and also to be totally honest, I’ve had opportunities similar to this recent one in the past. It’s been a while but I do remember a similar feeling of uneasiness with those, too. So this new opportunity that sprang up is probably one I should’ve said “no” to in the very beginning. Would’ve been better for my health, for sure.
I don’t often offer advice in my posts, I would rather you take what you can from each one and figure out if it can help you. But today, I’ll offer this to you…
You don’t always have to say “yes.” Don’t see an available opportunity as a sign that you are supposed to be the one to fill it. Know your strengths, and your weaknesses, what you enjoy and what gives you anxiety. Then make a choice that’s going to let you flourish, and at the same time be a blessing and a help to others.
-Out of the Wilderness