Knowing When Its Time To Say No
Hello, it’s been a while since my last blog. I haven’t forgotten you, but I have recently learned, more than ever that’s its vitally important to take the time we need to nurture and focus on ourselves. We live in a society of always looking to see what we can do for others, even at the expense of our own physical and emotional health. I have always been an advocate for taking time for the things one needs as an individual, for saying No, and for filling up one’s own cup before extending it to another. I am generally pretty good at recognizing when I need the space to relax, let go, and to have some fun.
Some of you who follow my blog are personal friends or family and have some insight into my life in the past several months, while others know me as clients, network associates, or are social media followers. First let me say that having your support in any regard is most appreciated. As a health practitioner there is a certain amount of pressure to come off as being strong and capable. After all, I am providing a service of guiding others with their physical and emotional well-being. And it’s important for me to walk the talk.
This past winter I was needed to support one of my sons, who was struggling with anxiety and depression while in school. It had become incapacitating for him at times, and was deeply affecting his health. I was fortunate enough as an entrepreneur to be able to lighten my case load and free up the time needed to assist him in any way that I could, so I did. I am happy to say that after several months of diligent work on his part and the amazing support from student services at his university, as well as the immense backing of friends and family, he is feeling much better, and is managing very well now. In fact, he went on to have an awesome summer working for a tech company led by a wonderful group of people who gave him the foundation to build back his confidence and sense of self.
I thought that I could get back to networking and work at the speed I’d kept up before. So, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work again. I also attacked my gardening on my property with great abandon, and started a reno project with my husband; full steam ahead, right? I was then hit hard by the sudden loss of my dear friend, and then my cousin, both too young to pass on, both losses hitting me like a brick across the side of my head. I forged on with my ambitious plans, stuffing down my need to grieve, and ignoring signs my body was sending, that rest was necessary now. I could hear myself saying that I wanted to take a time out. I wanted desperately to do some writing; I’d even planned a sabbatical and then didn’t follow through. I lost interest in even keeping my home clean, a very big sign for me that I was out of balance. I had said Yes to helping my son, but I was saying No to helping myself.
In the middle of the renovation project, my husband received news that he needed to have major surgery, while getting results from a routine physical. He would need my care in recovery. I had a couple weeks to rest and prepare, but I ignored this need too. And now, the universe decided “Enough is enough, Elaine” and threw me an even bigger challenge to force me to stop and re-assess. The day I brought my husband home from hospital, we walked into our home and discovered a pipe had burst in the upstairs bathroom and our home was flooded, all the way to the basement! We were evacuated from our home by 6:00 pm that evening, and have been living in a hotel suite for the past 32 days. My business had to be shut down, my husband’s care was amped up, he needed a space of little stress so that he could heal, I had to surrender.
And I have, and it has been such a blessing in disguise. I apologize to my clients who have been inconvenienced and I applaud my clients for their immense support and understanding. Restoration work has still not yet begun on our home and we will be here a while longer. My husband is well again and has returned this week to work. I have learned to sit in the middle of chaos and be grateful. I have learned that I can live with less. I have come to appreciate a good home cooked meal with friends and family, and the wonderful generosity of the care packages of food they have sent with us. I have learned that home is a place that you create wherever you live. I have learned that the space around my husband and I is far less important than the loving space between us. I have learned that I am happiest when I am with my immediate family, my husband and our two sons, no matter where we are together. I have learned that saying No and surrendering and taking this time to nurture my own emotional needs is the greatest gift I could receive. I am finally writing, and I love the process. I am taking the time to rest after many months of giving to others. And perhaps the best learning is that I am a better person than the stressed out, trying-to-be-strong version of myself that I was before. This is a blessing in disguise and instead of being angry or irritated about being displaced from my home; I am seeing the valuable lesson. I didn’t need this disaster to happen, if I’d only just listened to my inner voice and my greatest needs.
Saying No to others so that you can say Yes to yourself is not something to feel guilty about. It is the best present that you could ever give yourself and others. And even if you think it’s what you’re doing, take the time to really look deeply and ask yourself if you now need time to rest and regenerate, before a disaster forces it on you. You won’t regret it. It’s an absolute gift to you.