By Amy K. Andrews
You hear it all the time. Especially as women. Say no to your boss, when she suggests you miss your family reunion in order to attend an important meeting occurring that same week. Say no to the man who tries to take advantage of you, when he thinks your short skirt means his needs come before your own. Say no to the family member who always asks, and never offers. Say no to dessert. Say no to your dreams in favor of walking the straight and narrow; or, conversely, say no to the backup plan and follow your heart. (Lyndsey even detailed the ways in which we’re pressured out of saying no.)
Well, dear reader, with all of these suggestions, urges from the media, the well-meaning friend, and the voice inside your head, it can be hard to decide exactly what you want to say no to. I agree. Between our personal boundaries, where it is easy to say no, and our family, where it is often difficult to say no, there is a whole span of gray, trying to teach us a bit about ourselves. We have to decide what works for us, and feel proud to claim it. We have to imbue ourselves with confidence to set the standards for our own lives.
Practice, of course, is the answer. It makes us, if not perfect, at least a little better and more comfortable at whatever we are trying to accomplish. So, in celebration of saying no, I want to invite you to take a step back, enjoy a few deep breaths, and decide what you would like to say no to today.
Here are my five for Friday:
I am happily saying no to meat: This one is easy for me, as I have been a vegetarian for about 17 years; starting with something easy, like this, gets me in the mood to say no more readily. (I am, in no way, promoting vegetarianism. It works for me. Perhaps you feel the same. Or, perhaps you want to say no to vegetarianism. Whatever works for you, that’s what we are after.)
I am happily saying no to complaining: This one is a bit more challenging, as I love to talk about my tired feet at the end of the day. Or perhaps I make a comment about the weather, the state of the economy, or the unending task list staring me in the face. But, after being inspired by this campaign, I know I can go without complaining.
I am happily saying no to activities that don’t suit me: This is a sort of anti-bucket list type no. I am happy to say no to skydiving, to say no to running a marathon, to say no to naked bike riding, and to say no to participating in the Tough Mudder. Easy. I say no.
I am happily saying no to sugar: This one is hard, and even harder to say I am happy about it. I love sugar. In fact, I am an addict. But for the last two weeks, and still today, I am not eating any candy, frozen yogurt, or cake (ah, I love cake!). But, I love my health more, and sugar, I’m afraid, has detracted from my ability to lead a healthy life. So, for today, I say no. (In case you were wondering, I am eating fruit. And lots of it. Anything without a barcode or cardboard box packaging with an ingredients list gets a thumbs up from me!)
I am happily saying no to procrastinating: Today, I am getting it done. Those five tasks (like filing my papers) will be completed by end of day today. I better get started…
What are you, dear reader, saying no to today? Practice, practice.
Amy is a woman of wellness, a writer, and the winner of Seattle’s Ultimate Housewife contest. As a liberated Texan, she has lived on both coasts, and on the high streets of London. Most days you can find her teaching Pilates to her beloved clients, editing her memoir, An Expat’s Wife, swiffering her home, or writing thank-you notes. At this very moment she is undoubtedly cuddling with her wife and cat.