What do a game of Battleship, an overpriced notebook, and a Monday night movie have in common?
They are all requests from my family I wanted to decline over the past few weeks, but I remembered my personal commandment and said yes instead.
Although I tend to over-commit to the rest of the world (more on that in a future post), I'm not always great at saying yes to my family. I'm budget-conscious, time-conscious and personal preference-conscious. I tend to be so focused on my goals and plans, I'm not always up for deviations. In fact, I have to remind myself to have fun first.
I've been working on this for a while, and have learned a lot. Here is my advice if you are also a person who needs to say yes more.
Consider the impact. Often I've found myself saying no and then immediately feeling guilty about it. So I've disappointed my kid and felt bad about the choice, making everyone feel crummy. That's what led me to saying yes to Battleship, even though I would have preferred almost any other game.
Make a compromise. That same Battleship game? I told my son we'd play for 20 minutes and see how it went. At the 20 minute mark, we agreed to go another 10 minutes and that was it. He was fine with it, we each had sunk 3 of each other's ships so we called it a draw.
Listen with a yes in your heart. I recognized a while back that any time my family approached with a request, I had a "no" formed in my mind before I even heard what they were asking. I've been working on being more open, with the intent to say yes.
Put it in perspective. I was annoyed my daughter was asking for a notebook on our trip to New York. It was so overpriced! And she has a bunch of notebooks already. Then again, she rarely asks for anything, we both love stationery, it was overpriced-but-affordable, and it was a one-time request as a souvenir from a cool trip we took. All of a sudden it seemed worth it.
Think about why it's a good idea. When my husband rented La La Land from Redbox the other night, my internal objection was immediate: who has time to watch a movie during the week? But then I realized I could really use a night off from to-do lists so I put on my sweats and hit the couch. I didn't love the movie but I did love having time with Mike and giving my brain a break.
Of course in order to say yes to some requests, we have to say no to others. But it's very rewarding to say yes to the people who matter the most.