Sunday 12 June 2016

52x52: Say Yes, No and Maybe

52 random acts of kindness that each take under 52 seconds. One action each week, over a year takes less than an hour of your life.

I've spent years learning how to say 'No.'  

When people want help, I want to help them. So I say 'Yes.' What's wrong with that? Nothing, you feel like you are doing something worthwhile, being part of a community, helping people, being that person people can rely on. That is until you stop saying, 'No,' and realise that your personal life is suffering and everyone else is a priority. And through no fault of theirs, they have come to rely on you and don't learn skills to be less dependent and you have forgotten how to proritise needs.

So then you start saying 'No,' and if you're not careful you say it to everything. You start to say 'No' as your first reaction, to avoid falling into the same trap and give yourself time to think of where this need is in the hierarchy. Then you might say 'Yes,' but you have given off a negative vibe by starting with the 'No,' and the person has already moved on and asked someone else and then it appears you have no time for them and so on.

Whereas what you are trying to stop is a downward spiral into a never-ending work day where the hours are so taken up minute by minute that either you get sick, exhausted or just don't end up doing something that turns out to be really important or necessary because you either don't have the mind-space to recognise it, or the time or energy to do it.

So I have learned to say 'Yes' and 'No' only when I am sure and then lots of other ways of saying maybe like:
  • I will check
  • Let me look at my diary
  • I'll check my schedule
  • I'll see what's on the agenda
  • I'll talk to X to see if there are plans
  • I can find out 
  • I will see if X might be able to do it

All of which buy time and help to make an informed decision and also have the bonus effect that the other person remembers that you have a life and a schedule and that sometimes, we can't help even if we want to.   

And most important of allwhen you sometimes say 'No' or 'Maybe' you ensure you have the time and energy to say 'Yes' when you need to.

So this week say 'Yes', 'No' and 'Maybe'.

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