This post is really just me quoting a whole lot of the book Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequest since this book is what began a shift for me. Love her. I really wanted to hand a copy out to everyone I know for Christmas. I recommended it to a friend and when she couldn’t figure out how to purchase it, I purchased it for her. That’s how much I think people should read this book. I wanted to have my book club read it. (
I knew they wouldn’t because we are the worst book club ever with you know, actually reading. Love you ladies!) Anyway, it’s a great book, and it was just really perfect timing for what I needed to hear. Minimalism to me isn’t at all about the stuff, or the lack of stuff, even though I do enjoy my home so much more. Truly, trying to minimize has been about how clearing the stuff has made the time & the people more clear. More valuable. More enjoyable.
Why is busy such a badge of honor anyway? I mentioned before that I liked being the “yes” person. But saying yes out of obligation so often had me doing SO many things with SO much dread. Shauna writes “But you can’t have a yes without a no. Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start saying no to some very important things without even realizing it. In my rampant yes-yes-yes-ing. I said no, without intending to, to rest, to peace, to roundedness, to listening, to deep and slow connection built over years instead of moments.”
There were several gut punches of perspective, in the best way of course. “Many of us, myself, included, considered our souls necessary collateral damage to get done the things we felt we simply had to get done- because of other people’s expectations, because we want to be known as highly capable, because we’re trying to outrun an inner emptiness. And for a while we don’t even realize the compromise we’ve made. We’re on autopilot chugging through the day on fear and caffeine, checking things off the list, falling into bed without even a real thought or feeling or connection all day long, just a sense of having made it through.”
I think we are all scared of what others will think if we start saying “no.” I certainly was. Sometimes I still am, but I’ve gotten better at it with practice and with seeing the results- peace and happiness. It helps to have more people in your life who are also people who say no and see it’s value. Just think if we all slow down, maybe the rat race that has been the last decade or two, will be what seems abnormal. The I want it all, and I want it now generation is one I hope my children never see. I’m not saying to slow down, you have to say no to everyone and everything. I don’t desire everyone to be egocentric. Quite the contrary. I want my family to slow down so that we see what matters. For those worried about people being harsh or rude when you choose those times to say no, I’ll leave you with this final quote, because the truth is not everyone is going to get it. “Bless them. But don’t spend too much time with them. Draw close to people who honor your no, who cheer you on for telling the truth, who value your growth more than they value their own needs getting met or their own pathologies celebrated.”