Monday, July 21, 2014

Filtering The Can’t From The Can

While I’m just beginning my professional life, and therefore am new to it, I’m not as good at saying no to things related to writing, my blog, chronic illness, and health advocacy. 

But as far as social commitments go, I have become fairly good at picking what I can and can’t do.

To be clear, this isn’t simply an evaluation of what I want to do.  There are many things I want to do, but ultimately can’t or don’t do because they will either cause me to lose too many spoons, which will prevent me from doing other things, or I’ve already hit my spoon limit, and trying to do anything else would add insult to injury.

It has taken me a long time to get here.  There was a time when I said yes to everything, and often, at great detriment to myself. 

And it’s just not worth it to me. 

And there is still a part of me that really would like to be able to say yes to every social invitation that comes my way.  Saying no is something that I still struggle with, but it is never just a knee jerk reaction.  It is something that takes thought and consideration on my part. 

I know that not everyone understands this.  

It’s really hard when I get pushback when I know that I’m making the right decision for me.

And maybe some people view that as being selfish and thinking only of myself.  But when it comes to my health, everything else comes second.   

And maybe people questioning me when I say no to invitations is a New York thing.  I truly do not remember my life in Michigan consisting so much of running interference about the decisions I make in regard to social events.

And my decision is my decision.  If it’s an event that also involves my boyfriend, and I feel that I can’t go, he can always go without me.  I hope I’ve made this clear to him. 

My saying no and begging out of things doesn’t mean that other people have to feel sorry for me and not go or not do something in solidarity with me.  I don’t expect that from anyone, including those closest to me.

But I do expect some understanding that when I say no, it is truly, first and foremost, a decision that is more about my health and less about the specific event. 

As much as it’s hard for me to say no, I guess it’s hard for some people to accept that answer (and this is something that has happened more than once with different people).

And maybe on my end, it’s expecting too much.     

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