The No, Boundaries, and Staying On The Yellow Brick Road

18 Oct

I’ve known about the power of “no,” for a long time.

As a  writer, I’ve heard it at least a million times. No we don’t want your book, no we don’t want your story, no it’s not what we’re looking for at this time.

As a mom trying to figure things out in the Mommy-Mafia world I’ve learned to pull it out plenty of times. I say it constantly to die-hard PTA boosters trying to corral me into a time-consuming saga. I know the power of “no,” when it comes to money and things being out of my budget. I know the power of “no,” when my kids want their millionth got-to-have-it Lego as we’re buying a birthday present for someone else.

It’s in my vocabulary. I know I own it. But sometimes when it comes to setting boundaries … the “no,” doesn’t quite make it’s way to the top of the list.

Now when I put others at the top of my priorities and I’m working on a project for them, I have no problems zoning things out and saying no to distractions, procrastination, and toxic encounters that are gonna take my juice away. If I gave my word to help someone out, either with a grant, volunteer work, or just my time, I make it happen. I sacrifice and say no to things so that I can be there for that person. I say no to sleeping in, I say no to just grabbing a quick coffee with someone that winds up being an entire afternoon, I say no to Netflix, I say no to Stephen Colbert.  It’s painful, but I have to do it. I gave my word.

I set boundaries for myself so that I could come through for others. But when I try to do that for myself … the “no,” is nowhere to be found.

Standards fall short and deadlines are always extended. It’s sad because the power of no is sometimes stronger when other people are counting on me. But I realized that I should hold myself to the same standard I give to others. I’m more relaxed when it comes to me, as I can always say … well, I can pick it tomorrow.

Sad to say that sometimes this happens more than it should. I’m trying to get better at it. I’m trying to be stricter with my own boundaries when it comes to writing. I’m trying to hold myself to those deadlines. I’m trying to give myself the same amount of respect without feeling guilty about doing it.

I’ve been trying to finish the rewrite and edits of my book for some time now, but for some reason other projects or grant writing comes along and since I had offered to help the obligation to keep my word to someone else becomes stronger than the promise I kept to myself, and then I feel bad about the broken promises and then the sense of failure spirals into anger with myself and then frustration. But I reboot, and then say I’m gonna try again tomorrow and then the cycle happens over again.

But I was recently reminded by a soulful friend that sometimes the most important promises should be the ones you keep to yourself, and if there are friends, or people that call themselves friends, out there not in support of your dream then they don’t have to be on this ride with you. They can just get off the bus. She reminded me that I need the same power of “no,” that same commitment that I apply to fitness, exercise, and health to my writing and other parts of me. I’m on a roll when it comes to health, it matters because it’s not just for me. It’s beyond me. I don’t do it for the outfits or a smaller pair of pants. I do it to stay healthy and live longer for my kids. The purpose is bigger than me.

She said I need that same “no,” those same boundaries, that same sense purpose for other things in my life. Spread the no. You can leave the dream killers behind.

There is no need for the digs and back-handed comments  from other voices when you’re already in doubt yourself. You’re in need of back-up singers who are going to lift you up on stage. You’re in need of people who understand the “no,” and don’t make you feel guilty or bad about it. You’re in need of a realization that you are a priority and the same standards of deadline apply to you that you have for yourself when others are counting on you. The power of no applies to your dream quest as well. You’ve earned it.

So while you’re on the yellow brick road, bring the power of “no,” with you. It will help keep you on the path and keep the boundaries up. Boundaries are important.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “The No, Boundaries, and Staying On The Yellow Brick Road”

  1. Susan Swiderski October 19, 2017 at 5:07 AM #

    Terrific insight. You sound a lot like me. The problem is… realizing we tend to put the needs of other people ahead of our own is easier than the actual doing something about it part. Maybe you should try thinking of your book as a gift from you to the world. Not for you… for all the people who will read it and love it… for all the people you will touch, and maybe even help. (And then let me know how that goes. HA!)

    • The Guat November 4, 2017 at 1:08 AM #

      That’s definitely a different take on it. 🙂 Don’t know if it will help anyone other than making them laugh, but laughter is always important, especially during these times. I will have to invoke the power of no for the everyone’s sake. It’s totally completely necessary. I’ll let you know how it pans out 🙂

  2. anotherday2paradise October 23, 2017 at 12:46 PM #

    Good post, TG. I’ve often found it difficult to say “No”, especially when I was younger. I think with maturity comes the ability to stand up more for oneself without feeling guilty. it’s a good place to be.

    • The Guat November 4, 2017 at 1:06 AM #

      Duuuuuude I totally agree with you! I have been definitely learning and relearning that lesson, just when I need it the most the universe sends me a signal. I’m loving that boost. Loving the path it takes me on.

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