Life is full of opportunities to say YES. Say “yes” to parking in the spot farthest from Target so you can walk a little more, say “yes” to frozen strawberries in your wine, say “yes” to putting the clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor (if you feel like it…which sometimes I don’t), say “yes” to adding an extra plate at the Thanksgiving table and say “yes” to sharing your blessings. That being said, sometimes we need to say “NO.” Sometimes we need to say it in reference to really basic things like “no” I would not like bacon on my sandwich, though I think that’s a terrible call…but usually it’s not so simple.
Frequently saying “no” is terribly painful. For me it seems so much easier to please the other person than myself. Sadly, taking the easy road often leads to massive internal angst. Not doing what is best for you doesn’t really do anyone any favors. I find it ironic that God gave me two little girls to teach and to lead and to love..and yet they have taught me infinitely more than I can ever teach them. My sweet B is always considering other’s feelings before her own. It leaves her feeling sick and frustrated when she doesn’t speak up for herself. I’m learning to ask her if she’s making decisions because it’s what she wants or because she is trying to guess what is expected of her. This is, in turn, teaching me to ask myself the same questions.
Yesterday I set up a craft for the girls. How complicated can a craft of felt, shells and google-y eyes really be? The craft had multiple animals they could create and I let them take turns choosing like one might pick a kickball team in gym class. It was Brynnlee’s turn to choose first and she picked the last one I thought she’d want. As soon as she picked I could see the regret on her little round face. I asked her, “Do you want that one the most or do you think your sister DOESN’T want it?” She quietly said “no” and admitted to thinking it was the one her sister least desired. Her sweet little sister immediately said “You should choose what your heart wants and not worry about me!”
Oh if life were all felt animals with google-y eyes and people wanted us to have what our heart wants! How awesome would THAT be? That being said, we need to be our own best advocates. I am proof that saying “yes” when you really mean “no” can be detrimental to your health. Even while I’m smiling and looking put together, my insides can be boiling over; did you know heartburn can give you ear pain? I had no idea…until it did. Ear pain can lead to migraines, feeling dizzy and fatigued. Does that seem easier than the momentary discomfort of a one syllable word? Not really.
Besides that, every time we pick ourselves we strengthen our self esteem. I’m not saying I want my kids to grow up to be selfish and demanding. But I do want them to be self aware and know what they can handle and recognize that their “no” can be just as valuable as their “yes” and putting themselves first can be a beautiful thing. As women this is important for lots of reasons. As human beings, for many more.
That being said, next time I want to paint the seahorse I’m going to pick the stinking seahorse. Because life is too short to always pick the fish.