As life slowly returns to pre-pandemic normal, can we consider if we want to return to our prior norms? Have we made changes and added new routines we want to keep? If you answered yes, then empower yourself with two tiny words: yes and no.
For some of us, the thought of taking on all those prior commitments, packed schedules, and outside-ourselves demands does not seem so great. Perhaps the simple act of saying no is what we need, but find difficult. Do we fear disappointing someone? Do we think we are letting other people down if we don’t meet their expectations of us? After all, we want everyone to think we are great, right?
Take the time to set boundaries and make your own choices. Sure, there are times to make sacrifices, but are you able to identify and choose those times wisely? John Lydgate, a fifteenth-century monk and poet wrote, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
So why do we keep trying?
Learn when to say yes and when to say no. And if you say no, simply leave it at that. Who says you offer a lengthy explanation? I knew a woman many years ago who was an expert at saying no. As a stay-at-home mom, she had determined her priority was her husband, children, and their home life. Anything that distracted her from that priority she said no to. Once, when we were having a conversation, someone walked up and asked her if she would take part in an after-school volunteer project. She gave a warm smile and said, “Thank you so much for thinking of me, but no thank you.” The person she refused said, “Oh no, thank you!” and she walked away like we had given her a gift! I was stunned! Up to that point, I had always been a “yes” person, afraid to disappoint or leave a negative impression on another person. By her example, I learned to say no could be a positive and, certainly for me, a freeing experience!
Empower yourself with two tiny words and live the life you love.
Our Bible Verse today is from Matthew 5:33-37. This is a selection from Jesus’ first teaching sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, where He gives many instructions on living a Christian life. You can read the entire teaching in Matthew, chapters 5-7, from The Message translation:
And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say, ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.