We are living in a time when it is virtually impossible to disconnect from anything. With the advent of high-powered, high-tech handheld devices, we are all LITERALLY a swipe or thumbprint away from anyone and everyone else who’s “connected”. It’s virtually impossible to eat, sleep, or have private time (a.k.a. bathroom) without feeling accosted by the endless array of beeps, tweets, fweeps, honks, and the incredibly obnoxious, “You have a text message!” notifications. We feel so obligated to remain connected (kind of like being in “the matrix”) that when we realize we’ve missed “a call, a tweet, a text, or a notification” of any kind, that somehow we’ve failed as modern day human beings. We also cannot forget the flood of invitations that come our way via email, social media, and text messages requesting our attendance or financial support towards a celebration, a cause, or a human need. These constant bombardments and demands for our time and attention are exhausting and can create high levels of anxiety for even the most stoic of individuals. And for people like me, who suffer from anxiety disorders, it can almost become debilitating.
Because I am sensitive and a creative soul, I’ve often become overwhelmed by these constant demands. And yes, yes it’s very easy to say, “well just put the phone down”, or “shut it off”, or my personal favorite, “aren’t you being a little dramatic?” Well, that’s easier said than done in a world where you almost need to be available for opportunities, emergencies, and frankly, just to be informed whether your life or the lives of people you love are in danger. It’s almost as if we are doomed to an existence of over-access all the time.
But recently, I’ve reached an impasse. I’ve realized I don’t want to be accessible all the time anymore. I don’t want to always be “connected” or “available”. I’m learning to say no to over-access and no to constant demands. Social media almost demands a “yes” to everything that comes our way, but I say”no”. “No” to immediately answering every call, text message, tweet, comment, message, or post. I say “no” to feeling obligated to every invitation, request for financial support, and/or saving everyone needs saving. I can’t save the world. That was a difficult conclusion to come to and accept. I can’t fix everyone. Hell, most times it’s a monumental effort to attempt to “fix” me. But saying “no” doesn’t make me a bad person. Saying “no”, in an effort to preserve my peace, my sanity, and my functionality, is not only fine, but a necessary step towards self-care giving me room to grow and flourish.
People should try to understand, (though many won’t), that my “no” isn’t personal…at least not towards you. Please try to understand (although I’ll be just fine if you don’t because that’s your burden to bear, not mine) that my “no” might mean that I’m tired (mentally, emotionally and/or physically), that I already have too much on my plate and realistically cannot fit ANYMORE. Or that perhaps what you’re demands are are not necessarily of interest to me or related to what I believe my purpose is on this earth (sorry to be so deep but it’s real and it’s relevant to me). I promise. So please, don’t take my “no” personally, because personally, I’m just trying to take care of me.
Peace and blessings to you!