My good friend Maria Sirois Psy. D. is an inspirational speaker and resilience expert who wisely says,
"No is a sentence, learn how to use it."
Like everything else that is worthwhile to do, it is great in theory but hard in practice. During My Year of Whittling I learned that the only way to truly change my behavior was to practice the way I wanted to be. Daily practice was the only way to retrain my brain and live a different way. During that year, I did a series of 30 day practices, I learned that the brain is plastic and can be re-wired through daily practice. (I highly recommend reading Norman Doidge MD - click the pic if you want to order)
For much of my life I have thought my value came from making other people happy. Saying No to anyone or anything was hard. But slowly I realized that saying No to some things, opened up room and time in my life to say Yes to better, more important things. And, amazingly, my family didn't fall apart, and I was happier and better at my job. I said Yes only to those things that really made a clear impact.
When I was little the thing my Dad used to say that bugged me the most was "that's unnecessary" -
I hated it. I thought everything was necessary and important and equal. By saying No to some things and prioritizing what was left to do, I learned to finally accept that was he says it true. Some things are unnecessary and those are the things that I need to say No to. No is a sentence, and, I am learning how to use it.
There is a lot I say YES to everyday. I still like making other people happy, I have learned that it is important to make sure that I don't exhaust myself in the process. I need to be happy, too. I am a mom, and a wife, and a friend and a manager and I have a new, awesome job. So there is a lot I want and need to say YES to but if I am to succeed at all the things I want to be and do, I have learned that I can't say yes to everything. I need to make room for the quality YES by saying NO to the unnecessary. Yup, Dad, I can hear you.
I need to listen to my inner voice and say no to the things that do not serve me and make room for the things that do. That is the art of whittling, chipping away at the unnecessary bits so you can let the beauty come out. Say no, chip away, make room and time for what you really need and want.
On May 1st, I am starting a challenge called 30 Days of Saying NO I have created a closed facebook group for this challenge and I would love you to join me. As with all of the previous challenges, I will be posting everyday. You are welcome to post but of course not obligated to - I am happy to have you join either way. I would love the company! Say yes to the challenge so that you can learn to say No to all the other stuff.
I hope to see you in the challenge in May. XXOO Kelly