Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Answer Is No

This morning on Twitter, Stephanie Howell posted a link that said, "won't you take the challenge and blog your heart?". I love this kind of thing, so I clicked over. She has started a monthly challenge to others to blog from the heart, to be authentic and real. This appeals to me, because my favorite bloggers are ones who speak honesty and truth. To be perfectly honest, I shy away from people who paint life as being lovely and perfect and wonderful all the time, because that's just not reality. I don't mean that I like negativity, I just like truth. So today, I am taking Stephanie's challenge, and blogging my heart.

I am learning to say "no". If it isn't good for my family, if it doesn't benefit my children, if the relationship is not life giving, if it won't leave us better off than when we started...the answer is no. I told my husband today that I am tired of saying yes to things in order to keep the peace. I want our lives to be rich and full and happy. I want my children to have memories of good times together, happy times. Not times of strife, turmoil and busy-ness (is that a word?), rushing from place to place because Mommy over committed. 
I am still learning. It's not easy. I hate saying no, I really do. I'm bad to over commit. To say yes because I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. But I have to stop. It has to stop. 
So I am trying, really hard, to be intentional about what I say yes to. To work hard at building stronger relationships with people who truly love & care about us, rather than trying to appease everyone. To ask myself the questions from above, is it beneficial, is it life giving, will it leave us better off? 
If not, the answer is no. 



  1. Those are great questions to ask and a great lesson to say "no" if the answer to them is no. Love it!

  2. " If it isn't good for my family, if it doesn't benefit my children, if the relationship is not life giving, if it won't leave us better off than when we started...the answer is no."

    I love that! I've also struggled with saying 'no' in my life, and this quote is going to stick with me. Thanks for the encouragement, Alison!

  3. Girl I nearly ruined my marriage because I over committed all the time. When our start saying no people will get upset but don't worry if they love our they'll get over it. :)
    Great Post!

  4. I love what you have to say here, and how you're putting the wellbeing (and sanity) of your family ahead of everything else.


    As another person who struggles with this same problem, I'd like to ask you a couple of follow-up questions.
    1) What do you do with situations where it may not be life-giving for you (it may in fact be life draining). However it IS life-giving and beneficial for the other person?
    2) How do you communicate this to your fringe friends...the ones who aren't priorities for you...but who want you to be a priority for them? If you turn them down 3 or 4 times running, they're going to know something is up...the ballsier of them may actually confront you on it...what now?

  5. Hi John! I tried to respond to your questions via e-mail, but I couldn't, so I hope you check back here for the response! :)

    These are really great questions. I actually have given a lot of thought to the first one. I have an acquaintance who leaves me quite exhausted every time we talk, but I know it's helpful for her to get things off her chest. Here is the thing though, she is negative every single time we speak. Every time. That isn't good for my spirit, no matter how helpful it may be to her. The best advice I can give on this is to kindly say that you want to be there, and you want to help, but you just can't expose yourself to that kind of negativity all the time. It's draining. It's exhausting. It's not healthy. For either of you.
    As far as the second question, I hate to say that people aren't a priority. If they are life giving and encouraging, even if they aren't a close friend, I am more than willing to make time for them. The problem only comes in when those friends aren't bringing good to your life. If they do confront you, I would just be honest. Tell them you are trying to live a fulfilled life, and you feel like their actions (whatever they may be) don't contribute to that. I know how hard it is to be honest about this stuff. Trust me, I really do. But I think it's more important that we foster the type of life we want to live, rather than worrying about what everyone will think.

  6. alison. i love this. this is my heart as well.

  7. This is a good lesson, and good to learn early on, like you are right now. And might I add, just because you are asked to do something pertaining to your faith, it may not be right for you to do. satan used that on me, we were so busy with church things, that my time with Him suffered, so then my marriage and family suffered. God does not expect us to do everything that is put before us, but only to pray and follow His Spirits leading on who/what to say yes to...

  8. proud of you alison! family first. everything else will fall into place :))

  9. Saying no is a big deal for our family. We say no more times than yes, but it's absolutely the healthiest thing you can do for your family!! Keep it up!

  10. Thanks for sharing this, Alison. I know saying no is difficult and I do struggle with it too. Thanks for sharing your heart & encouraging others to do the same...funny b/c I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

  11. I love this post Alison!!! I love that you are putting your family first and making them your top priority! I love this idea of blogging from your heart / honest blogging.
    I will be honest with you, sometimes my life isn't perfect. Sometimes I have really awful days. But I always try to see the good things and try hard not to dwell on the negative. There will always be negative in life but I really only want to remember the positive.
    I hope that your life goes so much smoother now that you are saying no more and I hope that all is well with you friend!!

  12. Oh, my! I just had this heart to heart with myself this week. I even made a decision yesterday and when I was telling my mom about it, I mentioned that I have made the decision through this filter. Saying no really can be so freeing!

  13. oh man. i loved this post; it really resonates with me in my life right now. and your responses to john's questions, above? perfection. just so honest and real. i find myself so, so drained sometimes, and it's because a) i've said "yes" to things that were good things, but they've become exhausting and harmful to me and to my family, or b) the people i am trying to serve are emotionally draining, and it's taken a toll on my own attitude and spirit. your answers to john were spot-on; that honesty is definitely something i need to work on as i begin to say no.

  14. This was so needed for me. I often feel like I have to say yes to everything to keep the peace or keep others happy...but you're's not worth it to just say yes for the sake of saying yes. We have to say no, too! Thanks for sharing!! xoxo

  15. i definitely need to learn to say more, especially when i have so much on my plate and a baby on the way!!! it's definitely hard though because we always want to do everything that we possibly can sometimes!

  16. I love this. Being intentional about saying yes. Very wise and something I needs to read tonight. Xxo

  17. I love this, Alison. I hope it makes a difference for your family, and for you <3

  18. Oh, I soooo needed this. Thank you!!!

    I never thought I had a problem saying no until recently. I don't like disappointing people, so I say yes to keep them happy, and to not create drama.

    Just yesterday I realized that by telling my hubby, "yes, go ahead and invite your friend, his wife and two kids over for Halloween" {after they had practically invited themselves by the way!} I had created nothing but stress for myself! How STUPID. Halloween is supposed to be fun, and I want to have fun with MY KIDS. Not stress out because at the last minute, the house needs to be cleaned, and I have to host people for a get together.

    So, I told Hubby, I'm so sorry, but we have to tell them it's actually not going to work out. I can't do it. We have to tell them we cannot do it.

    I felt awful cancelling on them.


    Life goes on. And I get to have a good time with my kids tomorrow instead of stressing about a clean house, and having dinner, etc. for other people {who we aren't really REALLLLLLYYYYY friends with anyway}.

    It's going to be a learning process for sure.

  19. I couldn't agree more. I find it hard to say 'no' also. I have recently done so with a situation involving a friend of my daughter's. And, honestly, at first I felt like such a meany and kept trying to talk myself into saying yes, but I stepped back and asked myself similar questions and no was the only way to go to keep the peace in my world, my family's world. Good for you! :-)