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As A Woman, It's Okay To Say No!
For many decades, women were always portrayed in the media as nurturing care givers and stay at home moms. So when June Cleaver and Mrs. Brady were being replaced by Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda, women everywhere began to take notes and stand proud. Suddenly our real-life roles began changing too. We took jobs and turned them into careers. We managed to balance those careers with families – sometimes as single mothers. We continued our educations and got further in life than our uterus bearing predecessors, had only dreamed.
Wonder woman! Super mom! How to have it all! Sound familiar? Well, they certainly should. Every magazine headline and self-help guru, through the early nineties, was showing us how to be happily over extended and love it. It was somewhere in the middle of that same
decade, that the 24 hour day began feeling a little snug in the waist.
Now, here we are in the 21st century - we have even more commitments to keep, not to mention the expectations that we place on ourselves (yes, even we're guilty) and the countless demands of others that are continually asked of us. We can no longer fit our enormous schedules into these tiny days and women everywhere are exhausted with genuine frustration.
"To do the same job as a man, a woman has to do twice as much." This serves not just as a measurement of how far we have come as women, it is still, unfortunately, a truer sentiment than we would like to admit. Not because our work output is any less effective or worthy, since we have long proven that sexist theory wrong. Instead, it is because we are still haunted and judged by the same expectations that existed for our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers. We still strive to be everything to everyone, and now we have managed to "yes" ourselves into carrying the much heavier, higher demand load.
Any woman will tell you that she wants what is best for family, friends and herself and never see a single thing wrong about this simple statement. What we require for our own well-being, will generally come in at last place. An extra minute found, is usually spent on someone who is asking, just one more thing, from us. We give and give until there is nothing more to spare, and that is sadly, exactly where we place our own needs. We end up with nothing more than an exhausted body and a brain of mush. Let this be a gentle reminder of how we stay stuck in our rut.
We also find this very rewarding, to be the problem fixer and go-to for friends and family. As burdensome as this may sound, it is also very rewarding to most of us.
Schools, jobs and networking groups ask more of our time, needing volunteers, event planners and countless ridiculous social occasions to attend. Acquaintances and neighbors have now joined the needy brigade and request much more of our efforts than an occasional cup of sugar or donation. They require babysitters, pet watchers, errand runners, car-poolers and countless other time and energy thieves (said jokingly). It's time to just say no.
It's more than okay to place ourselves first on the list of things to complete, save, help or rejuvenate. Taking the time to make our own souls satisfied only makes us stronger and ready for the next problem to solve. This is not selfish preoccupation - it is like fueling up for that road trip or preparing our minds for a test. It is a necessary part of the process.
It will allow us to continue our eternal gift – the ability to give and give and give, and still feel like we are winning.
Get a massage, a pedicure or even take a nap. Read something you love. Listen to music and dance like nobody is watching. Slow down, grab some tea and call your mom, aunt, sister or even your best friend and giggle like teenagers. Catch up on yourself, cause you really don't want to look in the mirror one day and find yourself all grown up and miserably neglected.
It’s okay to tell them no - not now, or not today, maybe not tomorrow, perhaps not ever. If they ask why, tell them it’s simply because it’s okay for you to say no.
Trust me when I say they will remember all the times that you have said yes and you will have plenty of opportunities to yes again!