I had a request from someone for something.
Now we are all taught the politeness rules: be generous. Give of your money or time or self if you can. If you can, you really should, you know.
I don't think necessarily so. Something I have found enormously helpful: If I have even the slightest internal twinge, I buy time by telling the other person something like, "Can I get back with you? I need to check my calendar." (Or with my family, etc,) Now really, I don't- what I actually need is just some time to do a gut check, to find out what my hesitation is.
It takes time to be able to decifer what the stomach angst is saying: Am I nervous? Insecure? Over-extended? Am I opening the door to someone else's chaos? Avoiding something I need to face head on? Do I want to do this?
The answers to these questions matter – because if I say no without knowing why, I risk a recurring pattern of selfishness and if I say yes without understanding, I risk boundary-less-ness and resentment and messes.
The more you practice this, the better you get at it. Me too.
I sat on the request for half a day. I knew actually as soon as I received it that I needed to say no. But I wanted to make sure and I also wanted to decline in a way that was well thought through and gracious. That 12 hours gave me both.
And I feel so good about it. Relieved that I didn't agree to something that could have become very disruptive and emotionally costly and secure in the knowledge that I made the correct choice for the right reason.