A moment of self-awareness demands that I admit that I have a problem saying ‘no’ to good ideas. If there’s something that my time/effort/attention could make better for the world or another person (or lots of people), I’m apt to knee-jerk commit to the project with little reflection on whether, realistically, I have the time or emotional bandwidth to spare. (Hint: I realistically basically never do.) I want to do All The Things, and I want to Do Them Now. I understand this is a fool’s errand, and that by spreading myself too thin, I do lots of things less-well than I would if I did fewer. This is who I am, though. I see it happening and do (sometimes) pause to ask whether I want to proceed, even as I know I’m engaging in people-pleasing behavior that is the hallmark of an Enneagram 2.
I say all of that to underscore that I recognize the self-righteous anger and frustration I feel at this moment, having been shut out from pursuing an idea I was very, very much excited to pursue — an idea that was, in essence, an extension of the Civic Saturday fellowship I was eager to pursue in 2020.
I was told no, primarily because, “You are already over-tasked with so much right now.”
If and when I stop delivering on the things that comprise my fundamental responsibilities; if and when the things I do suffer in quality sufficient to merit concern; if and when the things I need from others to accomplish my dreams exceed their abilities to provide…? Then, yes, tell me no. Tell me no loudly. Establish and maintain boundaries for yourself. Remind me of my existing commitments.
But also, this: