During my experiment with saying “yes” to things in our community I found that I also had to be firm in my “no’s” as well. Too often we are drawn to saying yes because of outside factors. I have watched my friends and I say yes for all the wrong reasons.
Perhaps it is that Catholic guilt that I am wired with. Or perhaps it is that stoic German heritage that doesn’t like conflict. Whatever it is, I sometimes find I struggle with saying yes when I really want to say no.
What I have found is that if I focus on the word JOY it seems to be easier for me to say no. The word joy can mean many things to people. But for me it simply means does it bring a smile to my face or make my heart sing? If it does one of those two things then I say yes.
Yes there are those things in life we want to say no to, but often we have a sense of obligation. But take a look at that obligation and can you find joy in it?
This past spring I went to the funerals of two of my good friend’s fathers. It was a round trip of 600 miles for each funeral and I did it in a day. Was there a sense of obligation in going? Perhaps. But it was so much more. These were my friends. We stand with them when times are hard. Did I find joy in it? I really did. I loved my friends so the obligation disappeared and it was easy to make the trip. I took time to visit my favorite high school English teacher during one of the trips. The other I went and said hi to my dad for a few minutes before I made the return trip home. I found the joy.
My youngest son asked my husband and I to chaperone his homecoming dance on Friday. Having to spend a Friday night telling kids to behave is not my idea of fun. But the fact that he asked me brings me joy. Plus I know that I will make my own fun. Saying yes to this obligation made my heart sing.
When I hear my friends challenged to tell people in their lives no, I bring them back to the word joy. When they feel a sense of obligation I hear them lamenting the fact that they have to go and do something. Clearly they missed the joy conversation I just had with them.
I understand that we don’t want to hurt feelings. But to me I would much rather you tell me no right away then give me a reluctant yes and resent the time that we spend together.
When I set my hours for my organizing clients I limit them to afternoons three days a week. I found that if I took clients in the evenings or weekends I would resent it. I would go to their homes reluctantly and was not giving my best organizing service. Now if I show up in the afternoon I am full of energy and ready to attack their project. But it took me time to figure out what hours work best for me. Do I get calls for people who want help on the weekends? I sure do. But I have found that for most people they can rearrange their schedule to accommodate an afternoon.
One of the hardest things for me to say no to were the toxic relationships in my life. I watch as a friend continues to try to bring me into her drama. I refuse to be drawn in. Friends will ask if I saw what this person posted on Facebook. My answer is always no as I don’t go to that person’s social media sites. I have learned to stay away from them because they do not bring me joy. Yes there may be the occasional cute puppy video they post. But for the most part it is postings about how cruel the world is. Sorry, that type of stuff does not bring me joy.
The beauty of social media is that you can turn it off and walk away. If you see something you don’t like, say no. There are features that you can hide posts for a person. You also have the power to hit the unfriend button. If you are seeing things that do not bring you joy, turn the social media channel. For me I follow the people that make me laugh or inspire me. The ones that post political rants are hidden from my view. I have created my own social media channel with happy positive people and that brings me joy.
So this week focus on the word joy and the yes and no will no longer be a focus. Let joy lead the way!
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa’s e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.