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Friday, July 12, 2013

On Saying Yes and No

As the only responsible grown-up in our home, it has been evident on many occasions that I am limited.  My resources are limited.  My time, attention, finances, stamina, even mental energy are not inexhaustible.  Sadly, I do not have super-hero powers.  For a long time, I tried to hide my limitations.  I said, "Yes," to things that I really didn't want to do or couldn't afford just to please others.  I agreed to things in order to avoid confrontation.  I overextended myself to look good in the eyes of others. 

By doing all these things, I was crushing the spirit of who I really am.  I used my resources on things that weren't really that important to me.  As life became more complicated and the people who depend on me more numerous (ahem, three babies in less than four years!), I had a hands-on course in shedding that which isn't essential and in prioritizing.   I love the freedom that acknowledging my limitations has brought me!

Every time I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else.  If I say, "Yes, we'll go out to eat tonight."  I know that means I'm stretching our pantry supply for an extra couple of days.  When I say yes to ice cream at 11 pm, I recognize that I'm saying no to feeling sleek and svelte in the morning.  Okay, so I never really feel sleek and svelte, but you get the idea. 

I've been amazed at how universal this principle is.  Every choice has positive and negative ramifications.  Every choice.  How serious is that!  Now, not every choice has consequences that truly matter, but many do.  When I say yes, to that splurge on new shoes, I have to remember I'm saying no to something else. 

I was discussing this concept with Mr. Wonderful recently and I emphatically said, "Yes!" to him.  He laughed and asked what I was saying no to with that?  "To everyone else," was my reply.  It was a lighthearted and quick response, but it was true.  When we say yes, even to the joyous things, we must also so say no.  We limit ourselves in order to experience deeper relationships, security, history - there are so many rewards to limitations!

When I bought my house, I said no to every other house on the market.  When I cut my hair for a trendy new style, I said no to pony tails.  When I make healthy choices, I'm saying no to indulgences like brownies and vanilla Coke.  It's easier to limit myself in some areas than others. 

I'm surprised at how considering this concept has helped give my life direction and to clarify my priorities.  When considering a purchase, a schedule commitment or even a menu item, I am learning to distinguish how my yes will also be a no.  I'm even trying to communicate this to my children...and they get it on their levels.

Do you recognize the intrinsic limitations of your human self?  Do you try to do it all?  How are communicating your priorities and values to those around you and refining them for yourself?  Is it hard for you to come to a point where you stop looking at your options?

Others are talking about this, too!

Choosing the Best Without Having it All

When You Say I Do, You Also Say I Don't


1 comment:

  1. Missy it seems to me what you are describing is basic life...for the most all makes sense to isn't rocket's all good it seems to me...But what I really like about your how well you express them...sharing them with words that are perfect and articulate....holds ones attention because your words are very "smart"....very interesting...Bye...Louisa.......