The hardest thing for me to do in the past was to say no to people, things, stuff to do in the house. My critical inner voice, “the should voice” as a wise woman in my life calls it, would come out of her cave and start dancing around in front of me. “You should have done that, you should do that.” This voice only caused me pain and stress, but until recently, I did not know how alive she was in my head and life. I would love to say that this voice has disappeared completely from my head and vocabulary, but alas no. The difference now though, is that I recognize that voice for what she is, my own insecurities, perfectionism and worries about control. I have gained back my life literally in the last year, and though ‘the should voice’ is still there, now I see her, give her a hug and tell her “it’s ok, we’ll be ok” and move on. I have good days with her, and bad days. But the veil has been lifted, and I don’t kid myself anymore that she is there.
This weekend was a challenging weekend for me, my husband and my son Michael. I had to face Ms. Should about a family commitment which I opted out of. She tormented me about it, but I rose to the challenge and said “Missy, I did the best I can. Maybe my decision was wrong, maybe it was right. I felt it was the best decision at the time, and am sticking to that. You’re ok. You’ll get through it.” Ok I didn’t actually have this conversation out loud. Then I would have had MUCH more to worry about. 🙂
Seriously though, life is hard. Sometimes we need to make difficult decisions. I particularly think that life with kids who have special needs means that sometime we have to make tough calls, and the people around us may not fully understand. I get that. But I need to think of that picture of balance I am trying to get in my life and my family’s. It is about survival for us, survival in a world that sometimes is too much for our kids and us, as we watch our kids struggle. Learning to say no also serves a function for us Moms too. It forces us to put up boundaries around what is really valuable to us, to our family, to our friends. A wise life coach I worked with once said to me, “Joanne, what are you willing to give up to make your dream possible?” These words have stayed with me, and I have gone one step further. I ask myself the 5 questions below as I determine my priorities for living my life in the best way I can:
5 Ways To Make Saying No Easier:
1) Will this function go on smoothly even if I’m not there? If yes, than say no guilt-free.
2) Will I move forward with a priority task if I let another commitment slide this one time? Ex: If I leave the clothes to fold till later, could I finish that job application, chapter, go to the networking event for my business, or have some downtime for me to unwind before kids come home.
3) Do I feel lighter when choosing to abstain from this activity? I mean mentally calm and relaxed. That means you’ve been shoulding girlfriend. 🙂
4) Are you resentful going to the event, saying yes to the request? This will come back to bite you metaphorically in the butt. “Been there, done that, bough the t-shirt.” M. Hunt-Mom to special needs son. I don’t do this anymore, thank heavens, though I used to.
5) Make a list of thing that are your top priorities, so there is no question where your time is spent. Modify as needed.
Until next time ladies.