Have you ever found yourself saying yes to something you don’t want to do, don’t believe in, or don’t have time for, just to avoid missing out, offending someone, or coming across as unable to handle a busy schedule?
We are now living in a culture that has glorified the word “busy”.
We hear this all the time but it wasn’t until recently that it’s been weighing on my mind.
This is because of an experience I had at work. I have recently started a new job and one of my colleagues told me that if there was one piece of advice she could give me, it is to never say no to anyone that asks you to do something, because this is a “demanding office and people are expected to run at full capacity.”
This is a perfect illustration of how being busy has become something to be proud of.
We see it in our personal lives too. Our to-do lists and social calendars are so jam-packed with plans that we very rarely allow ourselves to do something for us, something we actually want to do.
For me this is a yoga class or dedicating a good hour or two to reading a book. Doing these things connects me to myself.
Without going into too much detail, I have had the toughest two years of my life so far. From loss, to mental illness, life really tackled me from every angle, barely giving me space to breathe.
Because of these experiences I totally lost who I was. I forgot the version of myself that existed before embarking on this traumatic chapter of my story. I was forced to grow up abnormally fast and juggle life at a thousand miles an hour.
As awful as all of this has been, I have come to see it as a blessing in disguise. Why? Because it has forced me to look inwards. It has given me no option but to turn down social events and work functions, because I just didn’t have it in me to show up.
Without realising it, I started saying yes to myself by saying no others. I started to spend more time in my own company. Meditating, exploring yoga, reading and writing, as well as sometimes just putting my feet and turning on my favourite film. And what this did was it reintroduced me to myself. It brought my core values and beliefs to the surface by pressing mute on the noise.
I would be lying if I said that this was always an enjoyable experience. It was enlightening, but difficult. Because what I once thought held great value in my to me, was in fact just a part of that noise I had shut out.
It is very easy these days to get drowned in the busyness of life. Especially when busyness has become the norm. But we owe it ourselves to take time to stop and breathe. We owe it to ourselves to say no, if it means giving ourselves a pocket of calm amongst the storm. After all, if we cut off connection with ourselves, how are we supposed to be able to connect to anyone or anything else?