Pic.: Mini Milind
“Self-care is never selfish, but it may feel that way when you live a frenzied life.”
Saying ‘No’ is difficult, very uncomfortable. At least, it is so to me.
People come to me with requests and it calls for my saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The moment I say ‘yes’, I know I should be ready to give my time, energy or money. Experience has taught me how, by saying ‘yes’ when I wanted to say ‘no’, I had invited stress for myself… making me eventually resist or feel even angry. All the workshops we had conducted over the years – on ‘Self-esteem’ and on ‘Assertiveness’ – yes, all these workshops have taught me one thing: We cannot say ‘yes’ to everyone, and for everything. That, saying ‘no’ in the right manner with the right intent is the greatest service we can do to our own well-being, and, thereby, to that of others’ as well.
But, then, it is not as easy as it seems. One of my students, who was doing a voluntary service to a N.G.O, had approached me two years ago for a donation. I did not know he was expecting me to contribute every year. So, in the second year, when the N.G.O called me, I obliged. But, yesterday, when they called for this year, I was not in a position to say ‘yes’ for various reasons. I wanted to say ‘No’… ‘I won’t be able to help this year’… and, I did say that. But, what is interesting – and very educating – is the way I brought myself to do that, without sounding blunt, indifferent, insensitive and insincere. I wanted to be very sincere to the person on the other end… and I did not want to discourage him and his organization from doing the good work. Surprisingly, after conveying my sincere positing, the person on the other end appreciated my sincerity… I felt good about myself. I m sure, the person on the other end, too, must have.
We cannot solve all the problems in this world… We all can do only so much. When we can, we all should help. But, when we cannot – for whatever reasons – we should be able to communicate it sincerely and gracefully.
Self-care and being selfish are not same things.