A couple of years ago after a breakdown I decided a good way of reclaiming my life and moving forward was to say “yes” more. It proved a very positive move and resulted in being able to move forward in my career, start volunteering, make some new friends and start a part time degree. I even started researching the idea of self employment. Looking back a lot has happened but along the way I lost the ability to say “no”.
Saying no can sometimes be just as valuable as saying yes but in not doing so I ended up by late 2013 I ended up exhausted yet again having taken too much on. Another side effect was the loss of creativity both with stories and ideas for my blogs. Over Christmas I took 10 days off from work and from studies to just simply relax, read for fun and watch TV. I even managed to write a couple of short stories. I loved the feeling of having the time to sit down and let the words flow again.
The strange thing is I felt guilty for doing so. This seems to be the other side of saying no. I felt guilty for having some me time despite the fact that it was needed and the Open University had factored this time in the course. Recently I had to say no to helping a friend so that I could concentrate on a difficult part of my studies and the assignment linked to it. My reasons were solid and reasonable but I still spent the best part of two days feeling bad about it. This is despite the fact that they did nothing to make me feel this way.
Why does that happen? There are some people who are able to make a decision without guilt or who say no for purely selfish reasons but so many of us are racked with guilt for no reason at all. I think as my goal for 2014 is reclaiming my life finally that this may be an area to work on. It’s fine to be selfish now and again, it’s fine to say I can’t do this… and to make sure my time is evenly split so that I don’t end up too tired to be of use to anyone. But most of all to not feel guilty for when I do need to take time out.
Deep down I’m sure people would actually understand