Oh, how I long to say "yes" and "no" to the right things. I've known busyness, and I don't particularly care for it. Especially when it's made up of things that drain me, things I wasn't meant to do in the first place. Sure, some of those things are wonderful opportunities. For someone else. They didn't fit me, but I tried my hardest to squeeze or stretch into them anyway. In hindsight, that really wasn't the best idea.
Do your own thing well and don’t try to do someone else’s thing better. - Emily P. Freeman
I still struggle with it, mind you. I haven't completely mastered this skill of discernment. But that's okay. I have time to hone that ability. One step at a time.
That being said, I have tried to remember that not everything that's good is good for me. And not everything that's good for me is good for me right now.
But this year, I'm asking myself one clarifying question to try to make the right choices: what's more loving?
Taking on another project that won't get the attention it deserves isn't loving-- toward myself as I pile on more work and expectations or toward the person asking me to take on the project, who deserves to have it done well.
Is accepting an invitation to something I only sort of want to do loving? Sometimes, I think it is. It can push me out of my comfort zone and stretch me in some of the best ways. Sometimes, not so much. It can drain me and make me want to curl up on the couch with a book the second I get home.
As much as it hurt my heart to watch warmer days go by "wasted", I know it was more loving to take rest days when I was sick instead of running in the sunshine. But, boy, was that tough. It paved the way for similar decisions going forward though, allowing me to more easily take breaks when my body tells me I need them.
Accepting an offer to do something out of a sense of obligation isn't loving. If my heart's not in it, I really should just pass. The other people involved deserve better than a half-hearted partner, and my time would be better spent doing things I'm passionate about.
Refusing to set a dozen ambitious New Year's resolutions is loving in that it spares me from furthering my perfectionist tendencies and frees me to focus on applying one word to all of my life, making more room for cohesive change that is farther-reaching than reforming one small part would be. And it starts in the heart, not with behavior modification.
Choosing to not run around my house like a madwoman, making sure every little nook and cranny gets thoroughly cleaned every time we're expecting company turns out to be more loving than I ever would have thought. It's more loving towards myself. It gives me a break. It allows me to rest. And, truthfully, I think it communicates more love to my guests, saying that I love them enough to let them into the imperfect aspects of my life.
Giving my best "yes" really comes down to choosing things that allow me to live like love, to live purposefully and intentionally, to keep my priorities in check, to work toward becoming the best version of myself, and to enjoy life along the way.
Choosing to be honest, even when it's hard, is loving. Provided that it's helpful and constructive. Sometimes biting my tongue is more loving if my words are not going to build up the listener. I need to remember that more often.
As this new year begins, there are a lot of things that I want to do, things that I'm really looking forward to. But there are also many things I'm giving myself permission to not do, and that's pretty exciting, too.
Have you found ways to make saying "yes" and "no" to the right things easier? What's your best "yes"?