Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving the gift of 'No' for the Holidays

So many articles tell us women, and moms specifically that the only way not to be overwhelmed by demands on our time is to learn to say no. I used to think that I was good at this. I mean I have only ever been to one block club meeting and I will never have a good thank-you note record. Which, I have met with a certain level of acceptance.

I have also been enlightened to the fact that a ‘no’ to one thing is quite often a ‘yes’ to some thing else. Meaning that no being in the block club means that my Thursdays open and instead of pondering the moral fiber of each less than considerate dog owner, so I may focus on some other aspect of my life. It is what my economics professor called ‘opportunity cost’: its not just the hour of my life spent on dog poopy but also the hour lost that could have been spent on something else.

I prioritize, I decline, I trust that some else will organize the holiday cookie exchange this year and even if they do not do it well, Life. Will. Go. On.

I have not mastered the art of saying no. Skipping on the pooped lawn discussions are easy,
but when its family & and especially long-distance family I find it so hard. All of my family lives far away. All of my travel time and money goes to visiting them, so much for that beach I have been promising us. Its worse when opportunity cost are nearly equal such as, a very nice Thanksgiving with X vs. a very nice Thanksgiving with Y, how the heck am I supposed to hold my ground. I completely crumble when there is any confrontation involved. I feel guilty for years.

The sad part is that I know that I’d have a better relationship with my family if I were to be assertive, say what I want, and sometime say no. I think that one of the nice things about family traditions is that everyone knows well in advance what’s expected and who will be disappointed. It is not a perfect system but if dinner is always at Aunt Judy’s you can’t feel too bad about not going to Aunt Bunny’s right. My family does not always work this way, and I am not sure if it is entirely fair anyways. Still, I wonder if it is now up to my generation to start carving these things out of stone so that we do not have to negotiate everything every time.

It is officially the holiday season; also know as family season, potentially the stretched so thin to the breaking point season. If I you tell me no you will no be organizing the Holiday Cookie Exchange I for one will not hold it against you. Just promise me that you will not hold against yourself either. I will understand that you often have to give yourself the gift of 'No' for the Holidays. When you do have to speak up and say no even to people you love don't feel guilty, you are giving something else a YES. (Even if it is only a 10 minuets to read your favorite blog.) You are giving something to the people who you say no to as well. Instead of feeling put upon, and coerced you can give your loved ones your authentic self, even if you can't give them ALL of your time and attention.

What will you are saying no to this holiday season? More importantly, what does that mean you will be saying yes too?

1 comment:

Kisha said...

I won't go into detail, but I probably should have taken my advice a bit this year. I'm exhausted with holiday merriment, but we've made it to the New Year in tact, so I won't complain. I will go sneak a cookie.

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