Let’s Say No

I’ve been in a stress feedback loop, lately – for reasons I have previously mentioned – even though there’s been a lot of forward movement on many levels. TLF is going to be paying writers and doing a redesign. It’s been the level-up I have wanted for this website for two years and we’ve been stuck in a holding pattern that we’ve been able to break out of and finally grow into the publication we’ve wanted to be. But I’ve been struggling a lot too, with work. I really feel myself moving faster and working slower. I feel like I am doing way too much.

I had coffee today with a friend, and talked a bit about the power of saying no. I have a horrible habit of taking on new things when I am feeling vulnerable, so I can “push through” them. It’s a coping mechanism that worked well for me when I was younger, but not so much now, dealing with kc.

Why is it so hard to say no to things? Even the title of this post troubled me when I wrote it out. I believe it, but not enough to embrace it in my life. I say yes to things because I want to please, because doing things is part of my identity, I’m a do-er. But also, doing things, being a go-getter is so much a part of our social identities on a broader level that to have the answer of “not much” to “what are you doing?” seems almost criminal. But I don’t want to blame this on “society.” It’s me. I’m a chronic do-er even at my own expense at times, and it’s something I need to re-evaluate.  I’m not good at letting myself do nothing, or not as much. And part of it, I know, is reframing my own narrative, and being more explicitly open about when I can’t, or won’t, or don’t want to do things, in a way that wasn’t my usual standard.

I just did it today, saying no, about a freelance gig.  And it’s still awkward to say for me. No. Like it’s awkward to say, I can’t. I can’t go out tonight, or I can’t see that thing very well, can you read that for me. But I feel like the more I say it, the more confident I can be about it, so it’s not taking away my power, but actually affording me more.

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