Sometimes when I write these blog posts I have facts and science to back me up. Not today. This blog post is pure opinion! Though, maybe somewhere there are facts and research to back me up, I have not done that research myself.
What prompted this topic for me was thinking about last week’s post and designing your days to create the life you want, as the days compound to create the whole. And then I started thinking about the idea of changing our minds once we start to explore something or once we commit to something.
I have been all over the map with committing to things. Pre- covid I said yes to everything- in fact I was nervous to say no, to not be included, to miss out. I suffered greatly from FOMO- the fear of missing out. That was even before the internet started showing me all the things that were happening that no one invited me to. Personal growth work 101!
Post-covid world shut down I start saying no to everything. How freeing! And in most cases there wasn’t anything to say no to! Lots of space and time to think became my new norm. It has been an interesting road back to finding some balance between these two places.
One thing I learned is that I LOVE having space in my schedule, in my life. My new normal, though I will be saying yes to more, will be weighed by considering how much space I have on any given day and I think thoroughly, pausing to ask myself if what I am going to say yes to is truly something I want to do. Is it something that will be good for me, or will I feel happy that I went or did the thing in question? Will saying yes overload my day beyond what works best for me? What do I give up when I say yes or no to something?
That last question has been very helpful to me!
So that is all good- and then there is the situation(s) where I said yes to something and I changed my mind. This was something I had to work on in my pre-covid days with others who backed out on me. I was very hard on people who changed their minds and backed out for whatever reason- unless they or someone was sick, of course. At that time remember, I said yes to everything, showed up for everything. Why aren’t they doing that, too? I was so busy I wasn’t in touch with myself to know or think about what would really serve me best, I just didn’t want to miss out.
I understand now that my unwillingness to let myself off the hook translated to how I felt about others taking care of themselves. I didn’t see it as that at the time as I was not taking care of myself. Don’t slow down, then you don’t have to think about how things are working or not.
Now after much personal growth work (never finished) I see how much the space benefits me and how little missing out is even real. I have the wherewithal to decide what is best for me, where I want to show up and even to back out on a commitment sometimes when it is the right thing for me to do.
I am not talking about extremes here- yes, you should always do your workout unless you are depleted in some way and to do so would have a negative impact for you. But learning to listen to the real voice inside- not the voice of procrastination or fear, but the once that speaks when it has the space to be heard. It says “maybe it would be better, more enjoyable, etc- you choose your word- for me to stay at home, make another choice, do something else…”
Do you owe people an explanation? You get decide depending upon the person, people, circumstance. Leaving someone in a lurch is not what I am talking about. If you promised to do something- don’t back out at the last minute unless you find someone else to fill your duty.
Once- in my adult life- I had a dance recital that I was dancing in- I was very excited because I took dance as a child growing up and hadn’t danced in a very long time. I asked a trusted and beautiful friend (who I still love) to come to watch me. I was so excited. And then she didn’t show up. I was really upset for a long time because it was important to me.
What I realized after many years of wrestling with things like this is it wasn’t that she didn’t show up that bothered me, it was that there as no acknowledgement of it- I am sorry, but I won’t be making it. Or even after the fact- I am sorry I missed your recital even though I said I would come. Once I realized what it really was that upset me I was able to deal with it.
To this day I still have a problem with people who leave me waiting for an appointment and don’t apologize when they are finally ready for me. See, there is always more personal growth to do!
Backing out is okay, and apologizing is kind.
Don’t back out because of fear or laziness. Do back out when it is the best thing for you to do, whatever that reason is. And don’t just not show up.
The do’s and don’ts on backing out! Who knew?
This holiday season, take care of yourself and enjoy your space, enjoy what you say yes to and say yes to yourself most of all.