I recently agreed to do something that I really didn’t want to do. I agreed to do it because I thought it was my duty and I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no – other than I didn’t want to do it. Somewhere in the process of growing up many of us lose the ability to just say “No, I don’t want to do that”. I’m not busy, I’m not out of town, I just don’t want to. It seems like a perfectly good reason for a six year old, but not for an adult. We don’t get the “luxury” of just not wanting to – we are grown-ups, we have responsibilities, nobody cares if we don’t want to. It’s not usually an option.
Well, I’d like to urge you to make it an option for you. Don Miguel Ruiz says it well in his book Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, “If you take action because you have to, then there is no way you are going to do your best … it is better not to do it.” By saying yes to what I really wanted to say no to, I took action because I thought I had to. And I didn’t do my best. It would have been better for all parties concerned if I had said no in the first place.
So don’t set yourself up for regrets. You can’t possibly do your best if you don’t want to do something, and if you don’t do your best you will have regrets. Practice makes perfect, so repeat after me, “No, I don’t want to, but thanks for thinking of me.”
I highly recommend Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements for a very short read on ways to reduce the stress that we sometimes create in our minds. It is probably available at your local library.