Since my last post, I’ve been quietly contemplating life as well as observing it. My difficulty with telling someone ‘no’ without having to add an explanation to it has become foremost in my thoughts. My observations of other people has also made me realize I am not the only one. I have witnessed time and again that it is only the rare person who can just say ‘no’ without adding an explanation as to why. Why is it we feel we must explain why we say ‘no’, no matter what it is?
This time of year there are a lot of businesses, fund raisers, and non-profit industries asking for donations. I get it. I understand why they do this at this time of the year. Everyone is so focused on buying presents to give to their loved ones, to ask for donations for those in lessor circumstances, well, it can just make a person feel guilty for not giving. With so many organizations asking, people have to say ‘no’ sometime and when they do they feel the need to explain, “I’ve already given… I give at church… I give in other ways…. etc”. To just say ‘no’ for a lot of people, feels somehow wrong.
I wish I could change this for everyone but I can’t, so I decided to work on myself because it isn’t just in the asking of donations but when someone I know asks something of me which I cannot do, the guilt sets in. It took me three tries to say ‘no’ in a text message without adding on an explanation. This just isn’t right. The sad thing is many people expect that explanation too and won’t accept a ‘no’ unless they are given what they consider a reasonable explanation as to why.
I’m not a child anymore. I’m an adult. Being an adult means I am responsible for my own decisions. That means, I CAN say NO and not have to tell anyone WHY. If I choose to tell you WHY then be charitable and accept it whether you like my reason or not. Be understanding and kind even if I don’t give any reason. No one lives my life except me. So, no one knows what I’m going through, except for me. There maybe valid reasons I feel are private that I want only myself to know about. That doesn’t mean we aren’t friends. It just means I’m not ready to talk about them yet or might not talk about them ever but that isn’t a slant against our friendship. It is just me dealing with life in the only way I know how.
Lately, another situation occurred where I needed to say ‘no’. This made me realize I have boundary issues. I haven’t set clear boundaries for myself, let alone for other people. When I was a child, I had no boundaries. I wasn’t allowed any except those my parents imposed upon me, of which, they were allowed to cross anytime they wanted. As an adult, I have had difficulty erecting boundaries which are important as adults, consequently I have had difficulty in many areas of my life. Realizing this I have decided to make this a priority for 2018. This is how I plan on doing it.
New Year’s resolutions are common for people to make. I’ve made some in the past. In most cases my resolutions were forgotten within a few weeks. In recent years I chose not to make any resolutions because I know they don’t work for me. I’m trying something new for 2018. I have decided to choose a word for the year and a word for each month.
I have chosen BALANCE as my word for 2018. Each month in 2018 I will select a word to support my yearly word, so I can focus on a particular element in my life which needs balance. For January, my monthly word will be BOUNDARIES. I expect these two will go hand in hand throughout the year. I wanted to make my focus for the beginning of 2018 to be something which had come to the forefront here at the end of 2017. I think I have chosen well.
I often find myself out of balance in many areas of my life and I realized my issue with boundaries is that of not having a true balance in my boundaries. I do understand boundaries will shift depending upon certain situations. However, I need to develop a firm sense of what those boundaries are and where they should be before any shifting occurs.
Relationships have always been an issue for me because I have no boundaries at the beginning and then try and erect them later on in the relationship. That doesn’t work and does nothing but confuse the other person in the relationship.
There are so many other areas which need balance and boundaries like finances and health, that this is not going to be a simple task. I could focus in January on what areas require boundaries, listing them and then making each one a focus for subsequent months. There are no hard and fast rules to this. If I need more time for any particular word, I can extend it by just having the same word for the next month.
In reality I know what I am really doing is building a foundation which will be maintained throughout the rest of my life. I need this. And I’m willing to work at it so I will have a happier life, hopefully with much less guilt. I don’t want to choose to do something because I feel guilty. I want to do something because it is truly what I want to do.