Day 4 :: Learn to say NO!

dull your sparkle 2

Why is it so hard to just say no?  Far too often we bend and succumb to the whims of other people, never thinking about how it affects our plan, goals and vision for our life…and oftentimes that leaves us feeling pulled in every direction without making any progress.  Give yourself permission to not answer immediately when someone else asks something of you…your time is sacred and maybe more importantly limited.  Take a moment {maybe more} to reflect, to discuss with your spouse how this option or request impacts your world…even if it’s a close friend or family member.  Don’t feel obligated just because.  {Obviously there are times of emergency that need an immediate YES!…but those are hopefully few and far between…}

Once you know what your family’s priorities are, you can use them as a ruler against which you measure the many requests and options that come into your life.  Is it bad to play soccer or join the girl scouts or take a musical lesson?  of course not…but it may not be the best course for your family right now.  In a perfect world, would you attend every dinner, family function and opportunity that comes along?  Of course!  But we don’t live in a perfect world…and sometimes for your sanity, you just need to say no…even if that hurts someone’s feelings.

Brad and I decided long ago, after a Christmas Eve & Day of spending more time in the car than visiting with anybody that we weren’t doing that again…something had to give.  We realized that we could make everybody else happy at holidays and us end up miserable…or we could act in the best interest of our family and not see everyone on Christmas Day proper…and that’s what we’ve done in subsequent years and had far better holidays.  We’ve tried to explain to our families in non-stressful moments that it’s not that we don’t love them and want to spend as much time as possible with them, but at the end of the day, we have to protect the sanctity of our family unit…and sometimes that simply means saying no.  We now come up with a plan together, for our individual family and then work to coordinate that with everybody else…and the two of us {and thus our kiddos} are much happier for it.  And interestingly enough, it usually results in us spending way more time with everybody at the holidays…we just spread it out a little longer than 2 days…big win in my book!

Am I saying to be rude and never care about others’ feelings?  absolutely not!  Just that it’s okay to not let that be the single deciding factor and react out of guilt and obligation instead of joy and true desire.  It’s okay not to let your child play every sport out there or be a part of every club…concentrate on what is important in the overall scheme of your family and then plan accordingly.  Your schedule will be much freer and you can take time to slow down and enjoy life…and oh, is that wonderful!

What things do you need to contemplate chopping from your family schedule?