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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.