This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the excitement of the holidays, family traditions and celebrating with friends and loved ones. For many though, the excitement is mirrored with the frustration of trying to make everyone happy and meeting the unrealistic expectations of making sure that everything is perfect.
As a people-pleasing perfectionist, I find myself saying yes to other people. And if I’m not careful, I can quickly feel overwhelmed and out of control. Sound familiar?
But saying yes to others, many times means saying no to ourselves and what is important to us. Have you ever said yes because you felt like you couldn’t or shouldn’t say no?
So why can one little word be so hard to say? Perhaps it’s because we don’t want the other person to be mad at us. Maybe we feel obligated or guilty if we say no. We think it would be easier to do it ourselves now than have to go back and redo it later. We might be seen as unhelpful, selfish or not a team player. And we for sure don’t want to let anyone down. No matter the reason, saying yes when we want to say no can cause resentment and hard feelings. I speak from experience.
On (way) more than one occasion I’ve heard “YES” coming out of my mouth, but in my head, I heard “NOOOOO!” I don’t have enough time! I’ve got so many other things to do. How am I going to get it all done? Then I start feeling responsible not only for my own success, but for everyone else’s as well. I can quickly find myself worrying and stressing in advance about meeting everyone else’s (perceived) expectations of the holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and of course, the “Magical Christmas”.
I stress out about how stressed out I’m GOING to be!
So here are a few ways you can say YES to yourself this holiday season:
- Decide what’s important to YOU. What is it that you want?
- Set expectations and communicate them to others. CLEAR IS KIND. UNCLEAR IS UNKIND.
- Plan ahead. Schedule time on your calendar to shop, cook, rest, etc. just like you schedule your work.
- Don’t judge yourself. What are the stories you’re making up about other’s expectations of you?
- Give yourself grace. Instead of worrying about letting others down, don’t let yourself down.
Happy Holidays, IOM! Yes or No? That is the question. What are you going to choose?
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