James 5:12 – Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear – not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.
When living with chronic pain, at what cost does my saying “yes” bring when being asked to do something?
If you constantly push your needs down inside you where no one can see them, and say, “Yes,” to whatever someone is asking you to do, how does that make you feel?
So you see what happens? When you’re not being honest and say, “Yes,” when you want to say, “No,” you risk a break down. Your body says, “Enough!”
What are some things that you can do to change not only the outcome of a conversation with someone, but help maintain good relationships?
Here’s one idea – There’s strength in the words, “Let me think about it,” and, “I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” It doesn’t mean that you’re going to excuse yourself from helping others. It just means that taking a few minutes or hours to sort through their request is okay.
Creakyjoints.org has some other ideas in their article, “Here’s Some Much Needed Advice for Saying No to Plans When You Have a Chronic Illness (Without Feeling Totally Lame). One of their suggestions is to have an elevator speech ready. Don’t be caught off guard when well-meaning friends and family bombard you with questions or try to guilt you to attend a gather. Try a narrative like this, “I know I look fine on the outside but my joints hurt so much I can barely move. Sometimes I feel exhausted. This is a real medical condition, and I need your support.”
When faced with a situation that you know you can’t say, “Yes,” to try to be prepared ahead of time in your mind what you can say to decline when you aren’t able to fulfill someone’s request. Even the Bible verse above says to not try to convince someone why you have to say, “No.” Just let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no. There’s freedom in sticking to your boundaries. Then, when you are having a good day, your friends and family will appreciate your company all the more.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.