Learning to be Gentle With Me…

A picture speaks a thousands words!

I haven’t written lately because like many of you out there, I have taken on a lot in the name of wanting to better myself.  Sometimes the lines are fuzzy for me as to when it is appropriate to agree to something and when I must decline for the sake of my health and well-being.  Before I started my journey as a yoga teacher trainer I practiced yoga five times a week at a studio.  Now I am trying to learn how to build a home practice because practicing this number of days a week along with teacher training every week it is not possible. 

Then there are always fun workshops, volunteer healing clinics and hospice patients, and if I participate in those events I am not focusing on the job that provides me with my livelihood, that of being a middle school guidance counselor.  Let me add that I have two beautiful children that need me more than anyone else.  As a result I have modified my yoga practice outside of the home, said no to taking on any new hospice assignments and I’m in a huge transitional period.  The transition is learning to say “no.”  This has been such a big problem for me in the past that a good friend of mine made a t-shirt for me that says “No” on the front of it.  I believe that it is a real fault to be a “yes” person because it is felt in the body in the form of headaches,  and all over body aches due to physical and mental exhaustion. 

The fighting against what you want to do and what you think you “should” do is a powerful struggle that is absorbed by the body.  For me this fight is released through yoga, therefore building a home practice is paramount during my transition.  In any event, I have still said yes to commitments that I know did not truly resonate with my heart. 

Prior to the start of my training my wonderful Reiki Master Teacher, Joy, advised me to start amending my schedule, cutting things out until after July, and being gentle with myself.  One month into my journey and I am realizing the importance of this advice.  Here is a valuable quote having to do with this subject by Kiva Leatherman from her site, the Wise Women Network:

 We are conditioned as women from a very young age to be people pleasers. Most of us were taught that the needs of others were far more important than our own desires and that self-sacrificing behavior made us “good girls.” And so, we say “yes” to just about everything and everyone, except our own selves.

And so at the end of a day – we’ve been BUSY. And we feel spent and drained because our busy came from fulfilling the needs of others. To a certain extent, this is unavoidable. We have responsibilities and children to attend to which cannot be ignored. The problem comes into play when we accept responsibility for things that are not our responsibility. When we enable others by taking care of “it” for them, or take on a project, not because our heart tells us to, but because we are looking for recognition and/or validation.

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you Ann for liking my post and congratulations on your recent awards. Your most recent post hit home. Thanks.

  2. Great post, Ann. I especially like the point Kiva makes about recognition and validation. If neither of those are our driving motivators, then there will never be any frustration when we have to say “No, I can’t.” I always remember the words of Elbert Hubbard when I’m not able to do something that’s been requested, and it gives me great peace of mind: “Never explain; your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyways.” Not that I consider anyone an enemy, but if you ever find yourself defending yourself and trying to explain, these are wise words to remember.
    Peace & grace,
    ~Miro

  3. So many of us can benefit from this message. I very much agree with your thoughts here, and support you 100%. Good for you for learning to say no and for prioritizing for a healthier and balanced you. I wish you well in all your future goals and happiness. Thanks for sharing.
    And thank you for visiting me. 🙂
    much love
    Celeste

  4. Great post! Why is “no” one of the hardest things to say as an adult? As children we are great at setting our boundaries with a simple “NO”…….Thanks for sharing your experiences!!!

    -Judy!

  5. Capable people say yes because they can do it…but doing it all means doing nothing well. By being more selective and intentional we can get more out of what you do take on. No is a mantra that works.

  6. kshama

    Thank you Ann for your ‘like.’ I have been browsing your blog and there is so much I can empathise with. Despite everything, it’s so important to take time off to be happy, to do things that will make us be in that condition so that we can pass on the good cheer. And, this is possible only when we can learn to say ‘no’ to being taken for granted, and learn to say ‘no’ to things that impinge on ‘our’ time. Couldn’t agree more with you. We need to learn to be kind to ourselves too …

  7. Thanks for sharing wise words here Ann! I just wrote about self-kindness/self-compassion on my blog (thank you for liking it), and really need to add your idea to the list. Saying “No” more often to others, and “Yes” more often to ourselves! Giving ourselves a “Yes” or time in our day for our own needs can really make a difference. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  8. Self care is a good practice. I practice it myself and recognize how incredibly valuable it is.

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