I sat in my bed this morning, just thinking and thinking, trying my hardest to think of something to blog about today. Nothing was coming to me and I was getting frustrated. I thought to myself, “I just don’t have it in me today.”.
But I couldn’t accept that. The thoughts started swirling in my head. “I can’t go another three days without posting, I’ll never build an audience that way.” “A good blogger wouldn’t have this much trouble coming up with things to write about.” “I’ve only been at this thing for a month, if I’m out of material already, what am I going to do another month from now?”
The thought of letting other people down is one that paralyzes me. It applies to everything I do. No matter what anyone asks of me, I am almost incapable of saying “no”. I will push back the things I need to do for myself, stay up all night working, and stretch myself ridiculously thin just to keep from disappointing someone. And Lord help me, if it’s anything less than perfect when I’m done, I’ll be sick about it for weeks.
A few years ago, I finally reached a breaking point. I had taken on multiple jobs for my church, several responsibilities for an organization in town, and a part-time job. It seemed that every one of them reached their busiest stage all at the same time, and I came very close to having a nervous breakdown. And for what? So I wouldn’t have to tell any of them “no”.
Maybe it’s because I want someone to appreciate my hard work. Maybe it’s because I, selfishly, would like a tiny pat on the back for once. Maybe I want people to like me. Maybe it’s because I still haven’t figured out what it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and if I just keep doing everything no one will notice that I have no real purpose.
Maybe it’s all of the above.
What I am learning now, is that the end result of trying to do everything for everyone is anything but positive. I always end up stressed, worried about failing, and letting everything else in my life suffer. And, more often than not, it just teaches people to take advantage of me because they know I’ll do anything they ask.
In the past year, due to circumstances beyond my control, I have finally started to get more comfortable with the word “no”. I have used it often, with great benefit to my mental health. Most people accept it and move on, but I have encountered a few who take my, “I just can’t do it this time,” and translate it into, “I’m incapable of ever doing anything for you again,” and left me flapping in the wind because I am no longer useful to them.
My worst fear, completely realized.
But through all of that, I have also become increasingly aware of who my real friends are, and what things I actually enjoy doing, versus those I was just doing because people kept asking. It’s a refreshing sense of clarity that I have not experienced up until this point in my life, and it will only improve as I continue to learn when to say “no”.
So I’m sorry, dear blog readers, I just don’t have it in me today.