Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yes and No

I have made precious little time for writing lately. This led me back to the admission that I have an incredibly hard time knowing when to say yes and when to say no. I have heard both sides concerning which answer should be more readily used. If we say “yes” more often we do not miss out on things, we do not shirk adventure because of fear or worry. However, if we say, “no” more often we do not overextend ourselves as much, we avoid burnout and resentment.
I am am someone who offers an eager yes to everything under the sun. I know it is so important to focus on what matters, but everything matters to me. And I truly love the multitude of activities that I delve into. So, how do I say no? When do I say no?
These are some questions that I have been working on to help me keep perspective and not allow my overzealous “yes” to get the best of me:

Do I still have plenty of time to build and nurture my relationship with my family?
Am I doing this with joy or out of guilt?
In 10 years will this seem as urgent or significant as it does right now?
Am I trying to prove something by doing this?
Am I willing and able to give appropriate time and attention to this opportunity?

Granted these are subjective questions. But, at least they slow me down enough to consider my words before I commit to any new things.

What about you? Are you more ready to say yes or no? Why is that? I can’t wait to hear all of your responses.


  1. Kate, the third question made me stop short. 'Am I trying to prove something with this?' That is a question rarely asked, I suspect, and in my case it should be asked more often. Trying to prove one's worth, indispensability, or superior knowledge come to mind - not necessarily good reasons to say yes to something.

    Like many people, I find it difficult to say no. I like to be useful and helpful, and I don't like risking dislike or disapproval because of saying no. Someone asked me recently 'What's the worst that will happen if someone doesn't like you or what you do?' Well, most times, not much. We women, particularly, would do well to examine our need to please.

    If I do say 'no' to something, it's almost always accompanied by apologies or explanations, which are OK sometimes, but at others they just seem pathetic.

    Your questions are all good - I hope they will make 'yes' or 'no' easier to determine for you.

  2. Thank you so much Deborah. I totally resonate with your comment. It is far too often that we try to validate ourselves by saying yes. And some times it does come off as somewhat pathetic because often it will all be okay if we say no, the worst that will happen is not that bad. It is always so nice to realize that I am not the only one stuck in this conundrum. I am still contemplating yes or no. There are always so many opportunities and possibilities when a school year ends and I consider the summer and the year ahead.