I was having lunch with Coach Audy the other day and we were talking about handling all of life's demands. Now that we're coming out of our Covid cocoon everyone wants some of our time. All of us have only so much time in which we try to stuff so many things. We have only so much energy we can give to others.
I was sharing with her a situation in which I was asked to do something I did not want to, and instead of politely replying, "No," I got angry and relayed to my requestor all of the things I already had on my plate and how I just couldn't add another. I responded with anger, intensity, and unloaded all of my worries and anxieties on the unsuspecting person standing before me. She didn't deserve my response.
After telling my story, Audy looked at me and said, "You know, 'No' is a complete sentence and you don't owe anyone an explanation for why you don't want to do something." I looked at her with gratitude that I have such a smart friend and chagrin knowing that I was an ass to another friend.
Indeed, "No" is a complete sentence.
When someone asks you to do something it's a reflection of their desire and values and it's completely acceptable for you to not share those values. By responding in anger I violated one of the Four Agreements, e.g. I took her request personally.
I violated a second of the Four Agreements by assuming she already knew how stressed I was and that I couldn't possibly add another thing to my schedule. Have you every responded to someone with, "How can you possibly ask that of me? Don't you know how stressed I am already?" Well, you are assuming that person has some kind of telepathic link with your emotions. If you're anything like me, I didn't even know I was on the brink of being an ass until I became one.
If I had just taken a deep breath and said, "No" or even, "No, thank you" I could have avoided the drama my lack of self awareness created. The problem wasn't being asked to something, the problem was my attitude about being asked to do something.
The Four Agreements serve as a foundation for being a reasonable human:
1. Take nothing personally
2. Make no assumptions
3. Be impeccable with your word
4. Do your best
When someone says something to you that fires up your emotions, take a deep breath and remember these agreements and take solace in the fact that "No" is a complete sentence.
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