"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others." Brene Brown
I woke up Monday morning with one word on my mind. YES. It’s time. I am READY! After four months of upheaval and uncertainty during a global pandemic, I decided that now is the time to say “yes” to getting back on track with my nutrition. It’s not that I ate horribly. I was eating 99% of my meals at home and eating lots of fruits and veggies. But little by little, as I spent more time at home and prepared more meals and snacks for my family I began to grab a handful of chips with salsa here and a few pretzels there, along with “treating” myself to some dark chocolate at the end of the day (my go-to treat.) And while there’s nothing wrong with any of these things on their own, they began to add up to extra pounds that were weighing me down (literally!)
This is just one example of how I was treating myself by saying "yes" to mindless eating and extra calories and "no" to better health and energy. I honestly can’t count the number of times a day that I’m faced with the decision of saying yes to something that supports me or holds me back from feeling my best and doing my best! I’m guessing you are in the same boat because let’s face it, as humans we interact with people all day long. Our time, money, and energy are constantly being vied for by our friends, family, co-workers, boss, our kid’s school, our church, not to mention the television, news, and social media! The list goes on and on. And as with all of us, our precious resources in the form of our time, money and energy are limited.
I remember as a young adult I had NO boundaries. I would let people jerk me around willy nilly because I was “nice.” I’m also a nurturer by nature and an Enneagram Type Nine- Peacemaker, which generally means that I don’t like to “rock the boat.” And while I do enjoy doing nice things for others and helping my friends, family, and volunteering at my kid’s school, there is only so much I can do before completely depleting my energy leaving nothing left for myself. As much as I practice The Four Seeds of Self-Care, I have found that saying "yes" to me is a muscle that I must continue to strengthen. This means that I must at times get very uncomfortable by saying "no" to things that I would normally agree to. This also means that I have to let go of caring what other people think if I say no. I constantly remind myself that what other people think of me is none of my business!
I believe that we are conditioned to think that it is selfish to take care of our needs. It took many years of introspective questioning for me to get to the core of these same questions that Shonda Rhimes asked of herself, in Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person - “I’m great at taking care of people. So why am I so bad at taking care of myself? Why am I so unwilling to show myself kindness and consideration, to cut myself the same slack, to give myself the same protection and care that I would give to everyone?”
"If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down." - Buddha
Practice saying “yes” to you by tapping into your sense of adventure. The above photo is me on top of Stone Mountain just after dawn. Saying "yes" to me climbing Stone Mountain on this day meant saying "no" to spending time with my family during that particular weekend. I had to go to bed early the night before and was up well before dawn to make the drive to Stone Mountain and hike the mountain to catch the sunrise. Not only was I rewarded with a spectacular sight, but I was proud that I took that time to fill my own cup, which is an absolute necessity! This is the very idea we are trying to convey when we say "be self-centered!"
Through the years I’ve learned to slow things down and get clear on whether I say yes to a thing because I truly want to, or whether it’s just because I’m on auto-pilot. Even still, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself doing things that my kids were perfectly capable of doing themselves just because I’d always done them before. I have had to (and continue to) reprogram myself to empower them to do for themselves. Doing otherwise is a disservice to them! As I have learned, agreeing to do more than I can easily handle leaves no room for the things that I REALLY want to do! Each time I do something that takes my time and energy is less time to devote to the things that support me and allow me to share my own gifts and talents with the world. I’m in no way saying that you should not contribute to your family or community, volunteer, and do kind things for others. To the contrary! When you get clear and intentional about the things that are worth doing you are able to show up for others MORE!
So, the next time someone asks you to do something that isn’t really in your heart, I want you to gently say “no.” And the next time you find yourself doing something that doesn’t support your well-being and growth I want you to flex your “no” muscle. Remember, “no” is a complete sentence. Say “yes” to YOU! Now that’s being self-centered!
With Love and Gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel