No is the New Yes

by | Feb 2, 2020 | Member Posts

The concept of self-care exploded in the last decade. It is pervasive everywhere both overtly and covertly. Think about the practice of mindfulness.  Ten years ago many of us had probably never even heard the word. Now we have studios, apps, books, and retreats dedicated solely to mindfulness. Businesses are capitalizing on this and our society is encouraging us to incorporate self-care in our daily lives.

Self-care is a very personalized practice, however, and means different things to different people. Spa treatments, a glass of wine, reading, watching t.v. are some examples of ways women give themselves a break. These all sound great in theory but the truth is that we live in a society where we want and think we can do it all. We compare ourselves to the other women who *seem* to be doing it all. “If she can do it I can too.” Does that sound familiar? We have been told that the future is in our hands and we can conquer anything we want. We live our lives hoping to excel at work, parenting, housekeeping, socializing, etc. In actuality, the majority of us feel overwhelmed, overcommitted, and depleted. The demands that we put on ourselves are taking a toll on our mental and physical health.

What are our boundaries? When have we asked too much of ourselves? Each of us have different limits but most of us have not taken the time to explore what they are.  After all, not giving 100% to everything we do is a sign of failure, right? NO! It is just the opposite. Learning what our boundaries are and giving ourselves permission to say no is empowering! It takes self-awareness and confidence in oneself to say that two letter word – NO. Listen to the inner voice in your head that is telling you to take a break or slow down. By saying no and setting limits we are taking care of ourselves which in turn results in increased happiness and health.

While this advice sounds rational, implementing it is a very daunting experience. Trust me, I have been there. Living with chronic pain has made me say no to things more times than I would like. I felt like I was missing out or disappointing people. Nobody wants to be friends with someone who is lame, right? I was stunned when friends started telling me that they were envious of how I set boundaries and did not overcommit. Little did they know at the time but these friends were giving me the biggest compliment because I had been so worried about people judging me. Now my ability to set boundaries is something of which I am very proud. I feel so much more in control of my life and less overwhelmed.

I challenge you to think about what you want your boundaries to be. This will be different for each of you. When you feel your heart beating a little faster or your brain telling you to slow down remind yourself that by saying no to others you are saying yes to yourself!

Meridith Jacobs

JD Lawyer turned Freelance Writer and Blogger