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By December 15, 2010December 9th, 2014Claudia's Corner

Hard to believe I would write a blog about saying “no” during this holiday season, huh.

In the light of gift-giving during the holidays, a client brought by delicious gluten-free, home baked brownies and butterscotch fudge squares. Sweetly wrapped for the season, each goody bag contained a card with an affirmation printed on the back. “Pick your affirmation,” this friend urged, adding that it would be exactly the one I needed since the Universe would guide my hand in choosing it. She waited, with a beautiful smile on her face, for me to open and read mine.
“Unless you are capable of saying no, your yes is meaningless.”

Frankly, I was disappointed, probably wanting to be told that I had mastered the art of unconditional love and that waiting for me in the parking lot was my tall, dark, ruggedly handsome soul mate. She, on the other hand, clapped her hands in glee, convinced that the affirmation was perfect for me.
“Isn’t that just perfect for Claudia?”, she asked my business partner.
The next morning, The Dallas Morning News featured an article in the business section titled “The Art of Rejection – Saying ‘no’ can raise the quality of your work and life alike”.
Hmmmm. The Universe at work?

I was forced to examine this ‘truth’ anew. In the very first days of my work with my HLC coach, I had heard this phrase, as he tried to instill in me the idea of core values…knowing what was not just important to have in place in my life, but what was crucial to creating the life I wanted to live. Later on, when I started to study the Foundational Principles of Health, Paul Chef used that same phrase to drive home a similar point during a PPS Workshop. I thought I had been there, done that. So why was this being presented to me again?
I have never wanted to purposely hurt someone’s feelings, so I have said yes to many things I truly did not want to do. Often, the experience proved to be more palatable that I would have first imagined. More honestly, I have said yes to things so that others wouldn’t be angry with me, would “like” me. Again, I wasn’t agreeing to eat fried worms, so there was no real downside to my participation. But there were many things I said yes to that were a real beat-down and I entered into them with a truly terrible attitude. Why do that to myself or others? What a waste.

I wasn’t being authentic…wasn’t being true to myself.
In fact, I was sacrificing myself.
I was putting the needs of everyone, every organization, before my needs
I was placing value on everything else, but me!

In the past four years, as I continue to work on my personal, professional and spiritual growth with my coach and other mentors in my life, I have gotten better at saying “no”. I understand my needs and feel comfortable working for their fulfillment. I realize that we all have the same amount of time in the day; time is, however, a precious commodity and I don’t want to waste it. (Of course, I don’t count ‘piddling’ as a waste of time!) There are things my friends ask me to do that I have no interest in doing. I say so, hopefully, in the nicest way possible. I still don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I also understand when others don’t want to do something I might suggest and allow them to make that choice for themselves. More importantly, I give myself permission to value what I value, no apologies or explanations required.
The bottom line is that as I value myself more, I allow myself to say no. It isn’t selfishness, or a grinch-like attitude. It is taking care of myself, taking responsibility for myself…my health, my emotional well-being, my growth as a human. It is honoring my core values, spending time on things that I say are important to me.
I liked the quote in the DMN article on “The Art of Rejection”:
“It’s easier to say no with conviction when you have a real reason for
saying it. Know what you want to accomplish at work and the relation-
ships you want to have outside of work…When you can identify and embrace
your priorities and focus on what you want more of – you feel more justified
saying no in order to pursue those goals.”
Thank you, Steph, not only for the treats, but for allowing me to focus again on my core values, especially during this hectic time of the year. Saying “No” can be a loving and beautiful affirmation of one’s resolve to live authentically, fully, and in tune with those things that truly matter the most in one’s life.
Merry…Happy…with love!