The Truth Behind the Stigma of Saying NO

So here’s the scoop, the truth, or what I’ve been up to since I’m not writing.  That was a hard thing to just admit…

I am not writing.

Sometimes, life gets in the way of your passions-which is partially my case.  

Partially.

The other equation in partially is most of us have a hard time saying “no”.  This turns a simple inquiry of “how are you doing?” from receiving a reply of “Good thanks, and you?” into “Busy.”

Too busy in fact for an “…and you?” finish to that reply.

For me, the new year brought on so many new commitments out of being unable to say no, that when I did say those two letters together it was to things involving my passion. “No” to signing up for another leg of a book tour because the timeline shared that as other promises I made-ones not involving my passion or my goals.  Being unable to say “no” to things created a life of their own using my skin as their host.  Each of them demanding.   Things I committed to, sacrificing my own aspirations, to help lift others.  Some were for a career I detest, others were for friends and family, and third for a community outside of my own living space, and then there was Joe, and Mary needed a hand, Shelly, Brandon, Darien…  

 

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Why, why would we do this?  Well, it’s simple.  We are not heartless creatures.  We get instant gratification from using the word yes.  You all know exactly what I am talking about.  Sue asks you if you would like to help her sell sea shells by the sea shore for charity, instantly before you have a second for your body to register that you really don’t like the smell of the ocean and that you could use that day to edit your most current book, your mouth is saying yes.  Just so your eyes and mind can see Sue smile, and hear her say “thank you.” It instantly sends off endorphins, a split second fluttering that YOU are important in Sue’s life.  That YOU have meaning to someone else, YOU are needed by another human being.  

In short- it’s a great feeling.

Your mind doesn’t think beyond that instant, it wants to feel…well…happy. Seeing others happy is a huge contributor to your own happiness.

Until the day arrives.

And everything in you is “UGH” over completing the task you committed to.  That is when my body would shoot a list to my mind of every thing I was sacrificing in order to hang out ocean front with Sue.  That list is miles long, 4 miles long if you want to be specific.

Another reason we tend to use yes words is guilt.  Yes, represents a positive.  While no has always been considered negative.  No one likes a negative (well…unless you’re in science…or an accountant…then you might enjoy the – symbol on occasion).  No matter the task, if asked, and we turn it down in apology, we instantly feel guilt.  So sorry I can’t go to the post office for you Ben.  While Ben may have shrugged “Okie dokie” and asked someone else three seconds later if they could help him out, the guilt is still sitting there as a lump automatically.  And yes, that guilt may go away the moment Ben says “no worries”.  But your mind does not like the icky feeling, so it will EVERYTHING in its power to avoid it.

I ended up shifting MY goals to appease the desires of others.  Informed my editor and cover artist that Another Word for Ledge (Book 3 in the ACN Series) was being pushed back from it’s intended March 2019 release to an open ended “I’m not sure when” date.  I started ignoring ACN’s website, social media, and emails.  We closed the Indie Beginning Podcast until further notice because…well…to put it shortly…all my “yes’s” had a firm grasp on my priorities.   

A strangling, throttling hold.  

I was grateful each time someone else would offer to write an article for ACN.  It eased the pang of guilt for ignoring my ambitions for a moment. 

It was on the final leg of these “how can I say no?” obligations that my own body took over teaching me how to use those two little letters together.  It did this in the form of anxiety and stress.  So much anxiety, so much stress, until my mouth was forced to say those words “No.”

It started slow, an hour to myself watching cleaning videos (Clean with me on Youtube, minimalists, KonMari).  That hour turned into a day, turned into me completely purging my closet from a years’ worth of leggings to two weeks’ worth of full outfits.  I WAS in control of this new found love for purging and cleaning.  I was the one accomplishing something for myself, a goal if you will, every time I took a carload to Goodwill or put perfect lines in my carpet when vacuuming. 

To most people, this may seem unhealthy, in reality (for me, I am by no means telling you all to fall into OCD patterns) it’s how I got myself back.  How I learned to say “no”.  I said no to accompanying a group to Washington D.C. because I it was the same week I scheduled to clean the windows.  I said no to new projects at work because it would take away free time I already had very little of for my own projects like detailing my car. Yes, like I said, it sound unhealthy, it sure as hell held all the signs of mental illness when you play the little Face Book question game.

But it was my saving grace…how Marie got her groove back…meh…pick your comparison…no matter how you say it…it worked.

Now, I am okay with saying no.  No reason given, just no.  I have learned to live with the thirty seconds of guilt saying no brings forth by filling the time with me yes’s.  Saying no did the one thing I was missing out of my otherwise minimalist life.  It minimalized (not sure that’s a word in the Oxford Dictionary…let’s pretend it is) the clutter on my calendar.  The clutter in my head.  It feel WONDERFUL to have only the things I need or the things I adore taking up most of my days.  Not to say I don’t say yes once in a while, but it is never an instant response to an inquiry.  I pause, let the thrill of a potential yes subside. Weigh out my own timeline, schedule, and value of what I don’t have in that moment to what I am being asked to fill that moment with.  So the task I commit myself to not only helps the one asking, it benefits the giver-me.

Today, the best part of my new love for saying no happened.

I started writing.

Again…let’s say that again…

I am writing.

Sort of, today is the first time in a long time I took a moment to write something.  Yes, it may only be a very poorly gramar-lized (again, this is a word…kind of…Oxford just hasn’t initiated it into their exclusive English language club yet) or punctuated web page post, however, it is the most like writing I have felt in months.  I am actually really excited and eager to spill my creativity all over the fresh pages tonight while the house sleeps.  For the first time in MONTHS.  All because my body taught my mind that no IS NOT a negative.

 

Let me take this moment to remind everyone that this is seeing through one person’s eyes, one person’s opinion. I am not right, nor am I wrong.  I am not a professional in any field.  You don’t have to read the shit I say and hold it as truth. Is this disclaimer enough for everyone???

 

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