By Guest Blogger Alisha Bisbee, MS, CSW, LPC
Three babies and seven years of marriage later, I found myself saying no to so many things that I wanted to say yes to. I talked myself out of everything. I had a long line of excuses ready to go in my mind whenever I needed them. I felt like I couldn’t leave my kids, my youngest wouldn’t take a bottle, we could use the money on something else, we needed family time, I didn’t want to stress my husband out, you name it. If I did manage to fight my thoughts, I would only allow myself to go out for a short time and would be completely anxious the entire time. I’d feel guilty. This was my own doing. My husband supported me, encouraged me, and was always willing to watch the kids, but I just couldn’t do it.
About two years ago, one of my best friends invited me on a girl’s trip to Florida, and I said no. I wanted to go. I needed to go, but I didn’t. My mind convinced me I couldn’t. I couldn’t take off work; I couldn’t leave my baby; I couldn’t spend the money. I regretted that decision so much, and after taking some time to process how I let my thoughts take control, I decided to make a change. I would stop saying no. Now, there are times when we have to say no, but if it wasn’t one of those times and if it was something I could do and wanted to do, I would say yes. This changed me. This freed me. This was the start of a new me.
The “do-it-now” skill
It is not selfish to do things for yourself. We need to do things for ourselves. After missing that girl’s trip, I evaluated my thinking. I became aware of my unhelpful thoughts when doing something for myself and worked to challenge them. I also started using the “do-it-now” skill. The “do-it-now” skill is when you are talking about doing something or trying something, you do it or schedule it – right then and there. We can apply this skill to so many things, big and small. Try out the “do-it-now” skill. If you sit on something, will it happen? Will you ever try it? Will it ever get done? How long will you talk about it before you do it? What would happen if you said yes?
Does this sound like you?
If this resonates with you, notice what your thoughts are the next time you say no to something you want to do. Why did you say no? Are those rational or irrational thoughts? Try to challenge the irrational thoughts and work towards saying yes to that trip. You deserve it.
It’s never too late to change something. We can work on ourselves, learn new skills, and improve our mental health. One year after I decided to make this change, I went on that girl’s trip. And you know what, everything and everyone was okay while I was gone. How could saying yes change things for you?