Right now I am in a “no” phase of my life.
I know that we are supposed to say YES! And according to Amy Poehler Yes, please! (I really love the audiobook) and I do agree with the sentiment. Saying HELL YES with a high kick and a shimmy has gotten me to where I am. So saying that I’m in a “no” phase sounds fairly negative and out of character. But it’s the only way I can explain it.
For YEARS, years, I’ve been blogging, hustling, selling at markets, creating online books, patterns, courses, speaking at conferences. I’ve said, YES YES YES to collaborations, growing, making, and doing. But growing “pains” are a real thing. All that doing finally caught up to me. I grew. I could not believe it, but it happened. And now I find myself having to say NO NO NO over and over.
For a true to my core, all the way down to my tippy toes people-pleaser, who wants NOTHING more than to bleed myself dry so that other people are happy, saying, “no” over and over has started to eat away at me.
I worry people hate me. I worry that I’m full of myself. I worry that I’m missing out or making bad decisions. I worry that I’m being selfish or stupid.
But then I have to remember why I started saying no. I started saying no because I wasn’t sleeping at night. I started saying no because I wasn’t able to complete thoughts without my body tensing in anxiety. I started saying no because I wasn’t able to concentrate on my children, on what they were saying, on what they were trying to get me to understand.
I started saying, “no” because I could not maintain life at that pace.
It might sound melodramatic but I was sincerely breaking down from overwhelm. I share more about that in my thoughts on 2014. And so for 2015 my motto has had to kind of be, “no.”
Will you answer these interview questions? No.
Can I send you…? No.
Can you promote this…? No.
Will you blog about…? No.
All of the overwhelm, the pressure, the anxiety, it all stemmed from one easy-to-fix problem: I was doing too much. And the only way to do less is to say no to things. But that’s the hard part! So I made a list, and in order to say YES, the opportunity has to meet some specific qualifications that make saying, “yes” worth adding to my list of things to do.
99% of the things people ask don’t meet the requirements.
Don’t for two seconds think that I don’t understand it’s a luxury to have so many opportunities that you HAVE to say no! It feels like a bourgeois problem, and I feel guilty that I have it and unworthy of it. Then again, it doesn’t make it any less of a problem.
But really, when I talk to all the women that I get to talk to, and read the emails (I LOVE YOUR EMAILS I do, so don’t think I don’t want them, when you send me emails of connection and thanks they mean more to me than you can possibly imagine) I realized we just all have this problem in different areas of our life.
Right now I have to say NO to some business things, in order to say YES to my family. I have to say YES to mental health, sleeping, and being able to have conversations with people in REAL life without checking my email 10 times.
I have to remember that when I say “no” to the email requests, I’m saying “yes” to my children, “yes” to my husband, and “yes” to my mental health.
But you might have different resources that are being depleted. You might need to say NO to your family, for example you might have a relative who takes advantage of your time or asks too much of you. You might need to say NO to hanging out with friends, in order to say YES to going after what makes you feel fulfilled and not resentful and empty.
I believe in service, I believe in sacrifice, I believe in giving to others. I believe in love more than anything. But I firmly believe we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves so we can take care of those around us. And we don’t need to feel guilty for doing it. Loving ourselves means taking care of ourselves.
I share all of this because when I got this email from Jordan Zobrist about participating in The Stripped Project, I was SO relieved to be able to say YES. YES! You can take pictures of me with no makeup! YES! I can show up without a costume, or a jumpsuit, or a backdrop! YES! I can encourage other women to strip down and share all! YES YES YES!
Jordan described the project like this, “A compilation of raw, black and white images featuring bloggers with NO MAKE-UP and NO RETOUCHING. Women stripped of any facades, exposing their real beauty for all the world to see.
Let’s stop defining beauty by a lack of flaws and start defining it by feeling comfortable and confident within our flaws. We all have them: physical, mental, and emotional. As a result, we all have something uniquely beautiful to offer the world. We have enough women pretending to be perfect. We need more women who are real and relatable; women who are not afraid of imperfection.” –Jordan Zobrist
How great is she? Jordan is young and adorable. She’s a writer and photographer. Just a sweet girl who decided to do something and share it and I was honored she asked me to participate.
I’m so grateful to be blessed with a platform to share such an important message on. So even though I hate saying, “no” I’m so glad that I have the opportunities to say, “yes!”
I also love the interview questions Jordan asked me.
I felt like her questions about social media and appearance were very compelling and I love the answers she gets out of all The Stripped Project participants. So I really encourage you to look at the other people too!
But in conclusion I just want to say I love you. I hope you’re doing well. Sincerely.
I hope you’re loving yourself, and that you’ll still email me! Haha because even if I have to say, “no” this time, I’m honored with each opportunity.
Thanks for taking the time to come to the blog. It’s always nice when people take time to read your words and I also love to hear your thoughts. You guys always have such good insight!
Here’s to saying YES to the right things and NO when you need to.