I’ve started many sentences with those four words. What usually follows has something to do with a job I took on or some task I said I’d help with it. Then when it comes time to do my nightly reflection or meditation, it becomes evident that no, I don’t actually want to do that thing I so abruptly said yes to. In fact, I think that thing is great, but it’s not for me.
Why did I say yes
Now, I’m sitting in front of my notepad, journal, laptop, or myself in the mirror (I sometimes do my reflections out-loud in front of a mirror) ready to panic. After the panic comes a wave of disappointment. Insert the emotional habit where I crawl inside myself and begin beating up on Flose.
I say yes because I want to please everyone
Wanting to please everyone means I have to stretch myself out. I want to be present the few times I see my family and friends a year. I want to have a successful career (assuming I figure out what I want to do in this little life of mine). I want to keep my anxiety under control. I want to stay true to my values. Yet! The momentary desire to please the person directly in front of me asking something I know I will likely not be able to accomplish wins.
Saying yes too soon
I have discovered it works out best for everyone when I do not say yes too soon–what a novel idea. Take your time before making any sort of commitment, because when you do not, you will end up disappointing yourself and others with a stake in the task, job, relationship, whatever.
Last night, I had a conversation with my host mom, Lorrie, where we reflected on this habit I have to please. We sat across from each cross-legged, and I asked her for a solution. In her kindest voice, she reminded me it is something I have control over. The next time someone asks something of me, instead of feeling like I can’t say no, I need to realize that I can take time to make a decision–everything is not an emergency. Of course there is pressure, the person on the other end wants to influence me to take on something they think I am capable of. It’s a healthy dose of persuasion, not insurmountable pressure meant to force me to something I don’t want to do.
Finally, she reminded me that I am 24 years old, life is a process, so I have tons of learning to do.
Life is a process
This afternoon, I browsed the WARC (West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition) website, and stumbled upon a quote from Chair Joycelyn Patrick.
“You repeat the lesson until you learn it.”
I went there for community research purposes as I am getting to know Delray Beach, Florida, but also found more evidence to support Lorrie’s claim that I’ll get better at decision making. I am aware that I need to hang up my people pleasing ways and align the decisions that I make with my values. There is nothing wrong with asking for time to think through something.
Life is a process, and the teaching is well underway. If I falter once more, its because I have not quite learned the lesson, rather than sulking I will get back up and keep keeping on.