We want this life to be lived for more than ourselves. We fight and struggle for what we see as “expected of us”, abandoning respect for what we need and want with the idea that we are serving a greater good. Being this way is a slow soul sucking endeavor.
During my school years I thought I was required to say yes to people because saying no would disappoint them. I would go to parties, and give answers to homework, and listen to bad music because I thought that was what’s expected of me. I didn’t realize until after I was alone that there was no joy in saying yes when I wanted to say no, for any of the people involved.
I think somewhere deep in the echoing caverns of my mind I thought saying yes for others was a noble act. So I said yes, and I let my energy bleed out of me while I tried to compress the area like a wound, ignorantly uncertain why it wouldn’t stop. That’s ugly. People don’t need blood soaked and noble, we need true. I need people in my life who give me their true self, with their souls intact, not being slowly drained like a victim of the dementor’s kiss. I need to be one of those people so that I can offer as much as I can to the people I love.
Living alone for a while gave me perspective on the things I was choosing. There were plenty of YES days, but there were also “ugh why did I say yes to that,” days, and eventually I realized I didn’t have to do it anymore. In fact I had never needed to do it EVER in the first place. And when I thought about all the times I had ever gone to something I really didn’t want to go to, or hung out with a person I really didn’t want to be around, or done a service project just because I felt guilty saying no, I realized that I was only giving half of myself. That isn’t helpful for anyone. It makes the people around me uncomfortable, or at the very least less helped, because I am giving them less of myself.
Half assing is great. I am highly practiced, and I learned from the best (love you Mother) but it has a time and place, and that time and place are never aligned with my people. If I was going to half ass it was going to be on something that was mandatory, but not life altering, and it wasn’t going to effect anyone but me. But saying yes to all the things and showing up, but not really, that’s half assing that touches others.
So I stopped, but the funny thing is I’m still doing most of the same activities. I was saying yes to things out of some twisted feeling of obligation before, but my new awareness of my ability to say no has given me a feeling of freedom, and the weight of YES has been lifted. Which means now I can say yes to the party if I want to, but I can reserve the right to leave if I’m not feelin’ it, without feeling that obligation pressure to stay.
I always want more time, and the obligation bull shit activities that I’m not going to enjoy are taking that from me. So I don’t live for others anymore. “GASP,” they said! “How selfish!” But let me tell you something true.
Living a life built only for other people isn’t sustainable. If you aren’t passionate and happy to be present it’s obvious, and everyone connects less. But, if you live your life for you, and you are extremely passionate about other people, then you will take such better care of your lovies.
Don’t live your life for more than yourself. Live your life for you; the people you love, the activities you enjoy doing, the faith you choose to hold. I don’t say yes only for the sake of others anymore. It sounds so selfish, but I think the people in my life would probably tell you that it looks like the opposite. Now I find joy in saying yes. Helping a friend at 4am is OK, because I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing. I only do the things and bring close the people I feel connected to, and that makes it easier for me to give that connection to them too.
Restart. Recalibrate. Resettle. Reset your life to one that looks more like freedom and less like obligation, and then Look forward. Move forward.