Once you realize you’ve spent too much time saying yes to the wrong things, it’s normal to feel trapped. You feel as if you can’t back out now. You might worry that everyone will think you’re a quitter or that you’ll let the people around you down. You might also be worried that other people won’t like you. But continuing with an external yes when you’re feeling an internal no is a sure recipe for burn out, exhaustion, and crankiness. As empaths, this also leaves us susceptible to the whims of all the energy coming towards us.
Regardless of how long you’ve spent saying yes, you can reverse course and begin embracing your nay. While it may take a few weeks or months depending on your commitments, it is possible to reclaim your time. Start by asking yourself a few key questions (I like to journal and then tap through whatever comes up):
What Does a Typical Day Look Like for You?
Take some time to journal this question out. Write down all the things you do from the moment you get up until your head hits the pillow again. This can include your professional and work responsibilities as well as your personal commitments. Leave nothing out so you can evaluate it all.
What Would Your Ideal Day Look Like?
This is one of my favorite questions. For me the answer to this has changed often over the years. Having spent a year travelling it really opened me up to what my ideal days could look like.
You may have to spend some time thinking about it, and that’s okay. You may have lived on autopilot and said yes so often that you’ve forgotten what it feels like to consider your own wants and needs.
Focus on what you’d do if you had no responsibilities or commitments except those that you really enjoyed. Would you spend your time painting seascapes? Would you take your child to the park every afternoon? Would you volunteer and become a larger part of your community? Or maybe it has to do with your business and how you would CEO there.
Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers here. There’s only space to dream about what you want. Take the time to really play with this and see what comes up for you.
I like to have an ideal work day and an ideal play day. I revisit this question at least once per quarter.
What Can You Do to Make a Change?
Once you’ve thought about what a typical day looks like vs an ideal day, it’s time to consider the difference. Sometimes, the differences may be obvious. Perhaps you wanted more time for self-care or less time with your toxic family or space to explore your artistic pursuits. There are so many options and it’s important to know what we want so that we can really measure how close we are to achieving it.
When Kennedy realized her ideal day included more time with her spouse and kids, she began cutting back on her evening commitments. A few weeks later, she had created a schedule where her evenings were entirely devoted to her family. How great would that feel for you to have more space?
Who Are Your Time and Energy Vampires?
As you’re looking at what you can do to change your life, you may feel there are certain things you can’t change. After all, your mom always calls you for long chats about the many things that are going wrong in her life or your best friend constantly needs a free babysitter. These people are “vampires”. They suck your time and energy away. (Check out this post to understand more about energy vampires)
You can usually recognize a vampire because you leave feeling down. You’re typically unhappy, negative, and drained after spending extended time around a vampire. You’re always looking for an excuse to avoid this person. (Check out this article for details around recognizing energy vampires)
How Can You Give Less?
When it comes to vampires, they always take far more than they give. They want your time and attention but when you need it in return, they can’t seem to make the effort to look after you.
In a healthy relationship, there’s room for give and take. But with a vampire, there’s only take-take-take while you give-give-give. Maybe take a moment here and consider what sort of relationships you have in your life. As empaths, we often wind up in situations that are not quite even. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
Although it may not be easy, it’s time to consider giving less. Maybe you could skip your mom’s call, only answering her every other day or simply changing the course of the conversation. Perhaps you could be “busy” when that friend of yours needs a free babysitter. This may feel really challenging at first, but imagine how it would feel if you could do it without the guilt.
Evaluating your commitments and saying no can sound like a daunting task at first. But it’s worth the effort. On the other side of all these events and responsibilities is the blissful no.
You deserve this freedom.
Want to have a virtual cuppa?
I’d love to get to know you and see if working together is a good fit. Book in for a chat.