Hi. I'm Valley and I'm a recovering yes-aholic. Once upon a time, I said yes to everything. Hungry and eager to please, I said yes until I was full, until I filled, until I burst, until I found pieces of myself splattered spasmodically on the counters and walls. And then I said yes some more. I wanted a resume, I wanted credentials. I wanted to be liked, I wanted to be needed. I wanted to feel indispensable and important. I wanted to be everything to everyone, for people to stare in WONDER and AWE. To ask, how does she do it?? Is she related to God??
When I was busy and overwhelmed my coping mechanism was to become MORE busy and overwhelmed. Because whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Right?
My sponsor was not impressed. She told me that if I never learned to say no then my yes would never mean anything. She said it wasn't so much that people needed me, it was that I had a giant S for sucker plastered on my forehead. She said that simply not wanting to do something was reason enough not to do it. I thought she was insane. But hers was the best advice I ever eventually took.
At first, saying no, especially to people I liked and wanted to like me, actually physically hurt. A twist in my chest, a churn in my stomach. The hit of being a super hero, gone. One of the most disappointing things about taking care of myself is that sometimes it feels like shit. I want fireworks and applause and the band to start to play when I do something hard. Instead, I just have to sit with the quiet inner knowing that I have carved out space to breathe. That the only one who can create and protect and nurture that space is me. Because it's in this space where creativity is born, where God talks, where I am quiet enough to listen.
At this very moment, I am not joining a board. I'm not making a film, planning a party, introducing a speaker, coordinating a movement or saving the whole, entire world. I am, however, doing stuff I really, really want to do. Stuff I feel led to do, that makes my entire being quiver with that feeling of OH HELL YEAH! I am still not an all star gold metal athlete in the No Olympics but by and large, when I say I'll do something it's because I want to with my whole entire being.