Learning to Say No


Every August, I sign up to participate in VEDA (Vlog Every Day in August) as part of a wonderful community of YouTube friends. I never find the time to finish more than ten videos, but I sign up and do my best every year because I enjoy the opportunity to share in a crazy, creative adventure with people I adore. Plus, I get to hoodwink my brother into helping me catch up on any topics/prompts I missed from the previous year, and those catch-up videos are the silliest and the best.

But by the third day, I realized that I just couldn't participate in VEDA on any level this year. My days are filled with work, my afternoons are reserved for my grandparents, and the few hours I have to myself in the evening are increasingly valuable to me. I'd like to think that I could live without Netflix, books, and naps for a month, but it turns out that I need those things in my life to keep me from losing my cool when seven different people try to drive the wrong way through the grocery store parking lot at the same time. (I'm pretty sure only six other people live in my town, so I'm not even sure how this is possible. BUT IT HAPPENS EVERY WEEK.)

Still, it took me a day or two of being consumed by shame before I was finally able to send a message to the group organizers and let them know that I'd be withdrawing from the project. And that is insane. I should not feel ashamed that my life doesn't have room for everything all at once.

I knew that was crazy, and I knew I had a book that would help me navigate all the gross feelings I was struggling with. So I picked up Brené Brown's Daring Greatly and started angry-reading. FIX MY PROBLEMS FASTER, BOOK.

Turns out™: setting boundaries is an important part of being a loving, vulnerable, wholehearted person who is "shame-resilient," as Brené puts it.

We have to believe we are enough in order to say, "Enough!" For women, setting boundaries is difficult because the shame gremlins are quick to weigh in: "Careful saying no. You'll really disappoint these folks. Don't let them down. Be a good girl. Make everyone happy." For men, the gremlins whisper, "Man up. A real guy could take this on and then some. Is the little mama's boy just too tired?"

So I'm working on my boundaries. Again. And while the yarnheads in the grocery store parking lot might not ever appreciate it, I sure do.