You used to be no good at it: the no.
You would want to say it, feel those two little letters roll over your tongue and escape your lips, that one little syllable slips out of your mouth like a soft exhale.
But there were big Bambi eyes and even bigger stories about why you must obligate yourself. You were needed, they were needy--you could help, just this one last time--you should really give more of yourself. Although lately, you felt you had less and less to give, like you were a butterfly whose wings were stuck through with pins, your lack of no on display for all to see. The more you showed your yes, the more you gave--the more they needed--the more they took--the less they gave.
But that was before. Somewhere between the new year and your last birthday, you felt it growing inside you: the desire to let go of responsibilities not your own, shedding them like heavy flaps of other people's skin you'd worn. All it took was one courageous whispered no to release you from the bonds of over-extension.
The other no's came more easily after that. You began to feel a gentle fulness swelling in your chest; you learned the bounty, the joyfulness of no. You shed your fears of the names you might be called, the people you might lose, learning instead that there were others like you--those who knew the power of this light syllable--the heady commitment of a balanced life.
You learned that no is not a vulgar, two lettered word, but a gentle embrace of self-care. It is given gently, reminding self and others that you cannot save everyone, fix everything, nor does anyone require it of you, not really. The no reveals--giving others, too, the freedom to tend their lives, their needs in their own way, in their own time, which they inevitably do, also freed from the obligation of your yes. It is a lesson a long time coming, but you welcome the no into your life with open arms, grateful for the space it creates, the calming energy, the positive results blooming in self and others, dormant seeds that only needed the nourishment of your no to unfurl and grow.
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