Top 10 Reasons to Say No
This month I said, "NO, I'm not going to write a feature article this month, I want to work on my book instead." As soon as I said that, I realized that there might be some learning (AND an article!) in that decision. Here are the top 10 reasons to say "NO," in service of your creativity and self-care.
1. To say YES to something better.
Right now I'm working on finishing my book, Ten Ways to Thrive as a Creative Artist. Every moment I free up is another moment I can use towards that!
2. Because it's the truth.
Telling the truth to people in our lives - friends, family, colleagues - can be very difficult, especially if we think it's not what they want to hear. But hiding the truth builds mistrust and resentment and clouds over true intimacy.
3. To stretch your "no" muscles.
Saying "no" gets a lot easier with practice. Each time you do it, you're paving the way for the next time.
4. To create or reinforce boundaries.
At the end of the day, you are the only one who has to be pleased with what you've done. When you are, you'll do your best work and be of the best service to others.
5. To break a habit.
Get out of autopilot and make a conscious choice. You don't have to do what you always do.
6. To demonstrate your commitment.
Show the universe that you're ready to receive new creative ideas and opportunities, by making it obvious that you're honouring your creativity and practicing self-care.
7. To help others to do the same.
The dreaded peer pressure of adolescence and people pleasing of adulthood can both also be applied in positive ways. You can be a good influence on the people in your life.
8. To keep your focus strong and your vision clear.
Wallace Wattles, author of The Science of Getting Rich, says that when you're clear about what you want and grateful that it's already on it's way to you, the universe will reward you with it. When you're distracted by every new incoming possibility (described to me once as the "bright, shiny light syndrome"), it dilutes this scientific process.
9. Because you were wrong.
It's taken many years of self-care practice for me to get to point where I will go back on something I agreed to if I realize it's too much for me. Before, I would always push through no matter what the cost (most often burnout and resentment).
Now, if I see that I was wrong, I respectfully renege on my plans by giving as much notice as possible, apologize WITHOUT over-explaining, and move on with a clear mind to what I've made room for. If thoughts of guilt or doubt creep in, I try to just notice them and let them go.
10. Because you're not a perfect superwoman/superman.
Perfection is not required. If you show up and do your best, you've done your work for the day and you can be satisfied and proud.
Saying "NO" is something that's worth practicing. Every time you do it, you'll free up time, space, energy and focus for your creative dreams.
© Linda Dessau, 2010. Originally published in 2006.
Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. Feel like your creativity is blocked? Visit her site to sign-up for your complimentary copy of the popular e-course Roadblocks to Creativity.