I shared recently that I will be adding some non-cooking related content to the website, with topics including house and home, parenting, craft projects and thoughts on creating change in life. Well, here we go! For each of these non food related posts, I will have a little icon in the upper left corner – like the blue one you see that says “Creating Change”. If you are a strictly recipe reader, this is your hint that this isn’t food related. And if you are interested in other topics, this lets you know what the post is about. I will not be posting “alerts” for Away From The Oven posts on my Love From The Oven FB page, so if you want to keep track on Facebook, check out my Away From The Oven page. So here we go, let’s talk about creating change.
I read a quote the other day on Pinterest, that stopped me in my tracks.
“When You Say Yes To Others…
Make Sure You Are Not Saying No To Yourself”.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to always accommodate anyone and everyone, whatever their request may be. I’ve mentioned a little bit that I grew up in a home that was clouded with mental illness, and I think it’s somewhat similar to growing up with an addiction in the house, you want to keep the peace, please and always make the choice that is least likely to lead to conflict. As I turn the corner into my 40th year of life, I can now look back and see that. I can see that for, well, ever, I’ve always been afraid of upsetting people, letting them down, disappointing them or making them mad if I say no to a request. Even if the request is something I do not want to do, don’t have time to do, don’t have the resources for and will probably resent doing.
“When You Say Yes To Others, Make Sure You Are Not Saying No To Yourself”.
I had never thought of my “yes” answers to others as “no” answers to myself, but indeed, that’s exactly what they are sometimes. On the rare occasions where I say “no” I have my defense ready. My list of all of the very valid reasons why it’s okay for me to say “no”. I’m not sure if those are to convince myself that it’s okay, or because I feel I have to defend my answer. Honestly the person I’m saying no to probably thinks about that no answer for seconds compared to my hours of agonizing over that answer.
Interestingly on the other side of never saying “no” to others, I almost never reach out and ask others for help. No favors, no help, no nothing. I don’t want to burden them and put them in a situation where they want to say no, and feel that they can’t – the way I usually do. I don’t want to make them feel put upon. I don’t want them to feel obligated to say yes. It’s been almost 18 months since my husband and I have gone out without kids, and our last time away was an hour dinner at Chili’s. One and a half years since we’ve even been out to dinner. THAT is how averse I am to asking for help.
Someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said to go see the Hobbit before it’s on DVD. They thought I was joking. I couldn’t have been more serious. And the sad part – I live in the same town I grew up in, lived my whole life in and my whole family is in. Yet I feel that asking for something as little as 1-2 hours watching my kids (and heck, I’d pay my friends and family) is such an imposition, even when I have a 10 year old who can basically run the show, that I don’t ask. Ever. This is something I am becoming painfully aware of us we get deeper into the journey of raising a child with special needs. You really do need to be willing to ask for help sometimes. As hesitant as I am to ask for help, I would have no problem with someone saying “no” to the request, yet I myself do not feel okay saying no to requests from others.
It’s finally beginning to dawn on me that I can just say “no”. And leave it at that. “No” can be a complete sentence. In a way, having a child with special needs somehow has given me a bit of freedom, like I finally feel it is okay to say “no” to things. I know that my hands are too full and I’m dropping too many balls. Somehow living in a state of being overwhelmed most of the time has made me feel less selfish about saying no. Not so much that I’m actively doing it yet (baby steps here), but I’m realizing it. We really don’t need a reason to say no to others when it is not in our best interest, but for me having that very valid reason may be what it takes to help change my ways. It makes me feel okay about it, it makes me know that I have to make the right choices for my family’s best interest.
In 2013 my goal is to say yes to my family & myself first, and to others second. And to realize that sometimes saying “yes” to that request that I do not want to do, do not have the time to do or do not have the resources to do, means saying “no” to myself and my family, and that it is not a healthy choice. It also leads to me feeling even more burnt out and likely resentful, neither of which are positive.
Maybe, just maybe, if I learn that it is okay to say “no” then I can enjoy and embrace when I say “yes”. Instead of feeling resentful and miserable for all of the things I say yes to, I can be more selective and say yes to the things that I want, the ones that matter to me, that make me feel positive. Instead of saying “yes” to everything, I can be more selective with my “yes” and turn it into something everyone benefits from.
This is a major goal for me for 2013. There are areas in my life where even when I want to say “no”, the reality is that a “yes” answer is needed, especially when helping care for a parent. Even then I am working to learn that there are needs and there are wants, and I do not have to say yes to all the wants. I am starting to realize that caregiver burnout is a very real thing, and that some “no” answers along the way will hopefully help me last through the challenge in the long run.
I hope with each conscious “no” answer I make, that I can feel more empowered. I can feel like I am making choices for the priorities that are important and healthy in my life. I can feel like I am saying yes to myself, my kids, my husband and my health.
I’ve picked up a simple 4×6 Frame to sit out and display quotes and sayings that I want to focus on this year, to learn from and to share with my girls. I will be sharing the printables that I make here, so make sure to check out the Free Printable page if you would like to download any.