It's one of the simplest words in the English language.
It's only two letters long and has one definition.
It requires no introduction and leaves little room for misinterpretation.
It's just that simple.
The word is so dope, it can stand alone.
It's only one syllable and is super easy to pronounce.
I mean -- some toddlers seem to master this word before they can say their own names.
So, WHY on God's green earth is it SO hard for me to say?!
Can you answer that for me??
I avoid it like some generational curse that will one day haunt my unborn children for decades to come.
Sure -- I can muster up a good "No, onions please" when necessary, but other than that -- I'm pretty much a "yes" woman.
"Yes, I'll do that."
"Yes, I'll be there."
Yes... yes... and more YES!
Why? Because I'm a people pleaser.
Yep, I admit it! I thrive on other people's happiness.
I want the folks around me to be peaceful and whole, even if it means going out of my way when I'm exhausted, spending money I don't have or taking on a responsibility that literally gives me anxiety.
Acts of kindness is my love language. And, honey... I speak it fluently!
Except when the kindness is overlooked and the generosity is abused.
Last week was one of those times. I was frustrated. So, I sent a text to two of my homegirls in our daily group chat.
"Tell them how you feel," said the more sensible friend.
She and I went back and forth debating my cause, until we were stopped mid-convo.
"Valencia, tell them no."
Miss Matter-of-Fact had interceded. She did not wait for my protest, 'cause that's just not how she rolls. She's the protective type... especially when it comes to her friends!
"Welp, that's that", I thought to myself, as I gathered the courage to stand my ground.
In that moment, my friends taught me a valuable lesson: sometimes saying "no" is the greatest act of self-advocacy.
Being a servant leader comes with it's fair share of emotional burdens. You feel compelled to be everything to everyone... to fill the void of every situation in need.
Don't get me wrong, benevolence is an incredible blessing. In fact, I'd say there is nothing more rewarding than serving others. But, there are times when you have to force yourself to take a step back and just say no.
You see -- in the midst of pouring yourself out, we must give ourselves permission to pour within. Saying "no" doesn't have to be argumentative or soaked in hostility. It can be said with finesse! Those who genuinely love and support you will fully understand.
So, be passionate and honest with those who need you. But most of all, be passionate and honest with yourself. Do all you can for as many as you can, just consider yourself in the number too.
Until next time,