I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries and protecting myself from my incessant ways of filling-up my diary. There are so many things I like doing and groups I like to be involved in that a seemingly empty week can all of a sudden become jam-packed and a little suffocating.
On the whole the things I book-in are good things but I do have a tendency to get ahead of myself and I sometimes accept things that I actually would rather not. Not necessarily because I don’t want to do them but more because it can be challenging and therefore quite stressful to fit them in.
What’s more, I have in the past struggled (and still do somewhat) to say no, for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or coming across as less than what I think the other person wants me to be. In situations where I have had the courage to say no, I have often followed it up with a lengthy explanation in an attempt to clarify that I’m not “a bad person” and that I’ve a reasonable reason to say no. In both situations I recognise that I’m focusing on someone else’s potential future feelings more than the reason why it’s not right for me to do the thing. All of this impacts negatively on my own health and wellbeing and something has to give.
There’s been a lot on this topic in magazines and on social media lately. And even just last night our Women’s Wellbeing crew had a working dinner and we talked about the importance of creating boundaries to ensure we don’t overlook our daily lives and families in the pursuit of doing great and powerful work. Nobody can pour from an empty vessel!
So, right now, for me, self care is about remembering that “no is a complete sentence.” I don’t have to demonstrate why I’ve said no in minute detail. I’m not a bad person for saying no. If someone else thinks I am then that is for them to deal with, not for me. Likewise, I won’t be snapping “no” and walking off with a bad attitude and forgetting my manners. My interpretation of this is more that I need to feel free to not take on things that aren’t for me both graciously and with confidence, and like all things it will take some practise.
A quote that comes up on my social media feed quite regularly really inspires me to be better at refining what I do and how I spend my time and perhaps it will help you too: “I am learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me.”