Real Talk..... learning to say no
To say I have a lot going on in my life right now would be an understatement. I am stepping into opportunities I have tried to get to get access to for years. Why has it taken me so long to get to these things?
A few reasons…
(1.) Fear, just call it what it is, stepping out of your comfort zone and risking failure and ridicule is hard.
(2.) No open doors or better said not the right open doors.
(3.) A battle with chronic Lyme disease that I have been fighting for sixteen years.
Eventually, if you want to do anything that matters, face fear. Jump off the cliff of what you want to do and trust that you will find a safe landing. And if you don’t pick yourself up, dust yourself off and look for the next place you can jump from (metaphorically, please don’t actually jump off of anything) just saying.
I have metaphorically jumped off a lot of the wrong places, or not jumped when I should have. Either equals a lot of really hard landings and a lot of really painful lessons. But eventually I started finding the platforms that are meant for me and just stepping onto them.
The lesson I learned? What is meant for you will find you. When the timing is right and when you are truly ready. By ready I mean know who you are. Know what you are passionate about. Know why you are doing something and usually when your motivation of heart is correct your door will find you. And please don’t fight for someone else’s open door or opportunity, don’t put someone down who is succeeding when you are not. Be happy for them, help them if you can. I promise there is plenty for all of us.
As far as health goes, it has been a fight, and because of that I fiercely protect the ground I win, because it is so hard fought. Sometimes that means learning to say no.
Saying no is the hardest things in the world for me to do. I hate disappointing people. With chronic illness, disappointing people can often feel like a way of life. Saying no and protecting my health, mental health and life has been the hardest lesson for me to learn through all of this. I learned at a young age to be a servant in all areas, all the time. It didn’t matter how old or young you were, how much was already on your plate, or if you were qualified. If there was a need, you filled it.
To serve others is not a bad thing, it is a beautiful thing if you do it right. But it can be dangerous if you learn to serve to the point there is nothing left of you to give and no time for you to fill yourself back up.
It can be deadly when you feel manipulated to volunteer for everything. Manipulated into feeling the need to give to everyone, to help with every event and every outreach while never having time or energy to prioritize your health or your family or re- charge. That can land you with serious health issues, breakups, divorce, no relationship with your kids or complete burn out where you are not really giving your best to anything. That kind of service nearly killed me.
It is easy for people to manipulate and take advantage of you when they know you have a good heart and they need something done. Some people will know they can get you to do anything, just pull on the right heartstrings and then get you to do it for free, or get you to pay for it, which saves them time and money.
The truth? Opportunities to sever others, there are a million of them, and the need will never go away. But not all of them are for you. Find and learn what you are passionate about, what moves you, what motivates you, what you love and what really affects your heart and put your energy there.
Volunteering is a gift, and you should never have to be manipulated into it. If you are being manipulated, it is not a blessing; not for you or the people you are trying to help. Manipulation destroys you and your family a little piece at a time. And if you are helping out of obligation or manipulation, neither your heart nor the heart of the person who is manipulating you is in the right place to make a true difference. Also if you are manipulating others, stop! Find the people who truly love what you are doing and they will help if they able because it's their heart.
Fighting this battle with Lyme disease isolated me from everyone and everything. For the first time, I had no choice but to say no. I simply couldn’t function, so saying yes wasn’t even an option. I couldn’t say yes to hanging out, volunteering or even simple appointments. I couldn’t even go for coffee.
Eventually, as all of us fighting a long-term battle of any kind learn, people will eventually stop asking you to do things. That can be a blessing in how you no longer have the stress of trying to explain, but it is also painful as you slowly watch the life you knew disappear.
It has taken me sixteen years in this fight to learn that I’m okay with myself, even if no one else is. That I can only do what I can do. If saying yes to something could cause a health set back or my heart is not in what I’m being asked to do, then I’m good with saying no now. Hearing people say bad things about you behind your back is never fun, of course, and I’ve heard a lot when I have to say no when people feel I should say yes. But that is on them.
I love helping people, to a fault, but I’m helping no one if I destroy myself, my health and my family. Love and give and help always, but make sure you are doing it out of love and grace, not manipulation. And when it is too much, say no and re-charge. Sometimes the best things you can do is take some time to get to know you, to heal, to grow, and let go. Sometimes the opportunities that open when you take that time, allow you to help people in ways you never dreamed of.
I’ve learned that there are a ton of ways to help people when you are not in a position to give time or money. I send cards, encouraging text, I post things like this to help others avoid my pitfalls, and so many other things I’ve learned to do behind the scenes. Because help also doesn’t always need to be seen by anyone other than you and, if applicable, the person/people you have extended it to.
Another truly difficult area of this, saying no to the people you love the most. Because you know that saying yes will run you down so far that you may not find your way back up. If what I’m being asked to do will cost me my health or my peace or violate my conscience. It is too expensive.
Remember, sometimes it is okay to just be. Close your eyes and relax, rest, take a deep breath, watch a Christmas move or another movie that relaxes you, read a wonderful book, go for a walk, kiss your puppies, pray and enjoy the moment you are in.
Enjoy your life, it goes by fast.
I spent so much time working and volunteering before I got sick, and even some in the beginning of being sick, so much time “serving” I don’t even remember a lot of moments in my life because I wasn’t living them.
I’m not talking about being selfish. I hate selfishness. But I also hate a false sense of humility used to manipulate people. So do what is best for you and your family. By doing that, you will be in a much better place to give and extend love to others. I will continue to love and serve and help others by continuing to improve myself and my health. That has allowed more genuine opportunities to help in ways I never had before. I cannot love my neighbor as myself, if I don't love myself.
Learning to be a compassionate, loving person who doesn’t judge people (especially when you know how imperfect you are) changes the entire world, one person at a time. Because then you help by default, you see a need and you fill it the best way you can, not the best way someone else thinks you can. Or you help by finding someone who is better suited to help.
No manipulation necessary.
Love, Kindness, Compassion and Prayers
Be Honest, Be Real, Be You
😘Bobbie De Leon