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The Pressure of Yes

Do you ever find yourself in a situation wondering what the hell you’re doing there?! When your mind is a million miles away thinking about all the other appointments/meetings/catch ups/errands that are piling up as you sit/wait/drive/text/listen/watch/discuss. When you have other places to be/stuff to do/dogs to walk/family to visit/houses to tidy. When you’ve forsaken that afternoon nap your body has been crying out for since Monday or that Netflix binge session to meet up/make up/step up/dress up and be there for your friend/sister/girlfriend/colleague/boss/auntie/neighbour/grandmother’s third cousin twice removed that’s visiting from Europe.

If that in any way resembles what is running through your mind on an average Wednesday evening, then we have something in common. Or at least we did.  

I recently read an article penned by one of my all-time favourite females and girlcrush dujoir, Lena Dunham (more on her in posts to come, I assure you!) where she details her struggles against the Yes. The Yes you say out of fear of disappointing others. The Yes you say because you don’t want to be seen as selfish. The Yes you say because you do want to be seen as someone who can do it all, and have it all. But she maintains that the Yes, the almighty, all powerful, all controlling Yes, can be overcome. Overcome by a little something known as the No.

I read the article knowing that I too have a problem with Yes. My personal life is filled with Yeses. Yes, I’ll feed your cat while you’re away. Yes, I’d love to drive you across the city in peak hour traffic even though driving is one of my least favourite things and peak hour makes me break out into a cold and clammy sweat. Yes, I’ll meet you for a drink even though I’ve worked a 60 hour week and really just want to go home, water my house-plant, read some Jane Austen and drink chamomile tea.

And it follows me to the office too. “Is that a stray task that no one wants to do and everyone has been avoiding?” I ask. “Yes, you can count on me!” I reply.

But on reading Lena’s words, and her goal to make 2016 her No-iest year yet, I realised that the Yes was holding me back. For too long I tried to hold everyone together, to be everything to everyone. When I timidly offered my first No a few weeks back, something funny happened. No one sneered or sniggered. It was accepted, gracefully. And I felt lighter. I felt more at ease. I had time that I could fill with the things that enriched me most, that energised me. Time that I could pour into creative pursuits/reading more/meeting new people/getting results at work/pushing myself outside my comfort zone/being calm/being happy.

So, like my pal Lena, my 2016 is going to be about the No. The No when my heart isn’t in it. The No to the things I should be doing. The No to make room for the Yes where it matters most.  

Is there room in your life for a few more No’s? Have you practiced saying No? How did it go for you?

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