Sunday, January 13, 2013

Just Don't Do It!

In November I was talking to a woman  and asked her if she could do something for me and she said, "No...I'm sorry.  I feel bad saying 'no'."  I wanted to hit her. 

Why do women do that?  Feel bad for setting boundaries for themselves and saying no? Who made up the rule that to say no is a sin?

I am in my church congregation's women's presidency--in Mormon speak I'm in the Relief Society Presidency.  I went to the President right then and said, "I'm giving the lesson in January. We're having a tutorial on the word 'No'."  Here it is:

"This summer my mother died and I was feeling down and then the summer ended and school started and I kept feeling worse.  I realized that my medication wasn't working very well and that after 7 years on the same medication I probably needed a change.  I tend to hide from people, situations, duties, etc. when I'm depressed and I was really hiding.  It took me until the end of November to get in to see my psychiatrist to assess my medication.  I have a lot of duties, civic and church, that I'm involved with and I wasn't doing them.  I said to my husband, I really feel like I am running faster than I have strength. (Mosiah 4:27 in the Book of Mormon)  I didn't have the mental capacity to do all the things I needed to do.  My mental health was suffering.

I was talking to the girl that waxes me the other day about her 5 jobs she'd mentioned she has.  Her husband goes to school and she is the bread winner in her family.  At one point she had several jobs that she did and that she hated.  Her husband told her that she did it to herself, which made her mad because here she is supporting the family and he's criticizing her--which he really wasn't.  She realized he was right.  Just because she works doesn't mean she has to do something she hates.  So she switched her focus and found things she likes to do and she and her husband are much happier.

Third story:  The other councellor who is over our monthly midweek Relief Society meetings had done a craft evening wherein a lot of the crafts had not been picked up or paid for.  She decided that she was going to take the rest home and finish them to give to the widowed and/or alone ladies in our ward (congregation).  This is a wonderful thing to do if you aren't getting ready to move, have 2 small children, teach 3 craft classes already, etc, etc, etc.  She came to church and said, "I don't think I'm going to be able to do this.  I'm really sorry."  I hadn't heard she was going to do it and after finding out the information said, "Do they KNOW you are doing this for them?" She said they didn't and then I said, "Then we're not doing it!"  Then she thanked me for allowing her to say no. 

Ladies, you don't have to have permission to say, NO!  It's not a bad word.  It's actually an awesome word.  It's a word that allows you to put boundaries on yourself, to keep yourselves mentally and physically well.

Think of all the things you do as a woman, wife, and mother:  laundress, chauffeur, we work outside the home, cook, clean, take care of our neighbors, eat, sleep, exercise, attend civic meetings, church activities, church assignments, take care of our parents, brothers and sisters, etc. Out of all the activities you do which ones are essential?  Eating and sleeping.  The laundry will wait.  The kids have feet to walk.  The dishes can wait until tomorrow.  Kids can eat ramen.

Why do we take on so much in our lives?  Why don't we say no?  Because we feel guilty.  Because we feel like we "should" be doing these things. 

My husband--the marriage and family therapist--often tells his female clients

                          Don't Should All Over Yourself!!

From here on out you are only to feel guilty if you do something:

1.  Mean
2.  Wrong
3.  Unfair

Otherwise, you are not allowed to waste good guilt energy.

God gives us guilt so good people will feel bad when they do something bad.  Then we will fix the problem so we can feel good again.  Satan wants us to feel bad about ourselves so we will be miserable like unto himself.  He wants us to feel bad and to think that we are inherently evil.  But we aren't.  He want us to run faster than we have strength.

In the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4:26-27 tells us:

 26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may awalk guiltless before God—I would that ye should bimpart of your substance to the cpoor, every man according to that which he hath, such as dfeeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.
 27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

The Lord tells us that although we are already saved by his grace and merits that we are to continue to do good to our fellow man however, it is not REQUIRED that a man should run faster than he has strength.  That we should work hard but all things should be done in order and wisdom.  

In other words:  If you don't have time, money, or energy or even if you don't want to make dinner for a sick ward member then say NO! and leave it at that.   If you don't want to share your Mother's Day chocolates with your children then don't--in fact you shouldn't!  If you don't want to be on the PTA then don't say yes.  

Create boundaries, ladies.  Say NO!  And remember, Don't should all over yourselves.


  1. Fantabulous!!! I'm so glad you did that lesson and wrote this blog! Let's post this on The GREAT Relationships Blog (, too, with you as a Guest Blogger... unless you don't want to. In that case, I'll somehow cope with your "No."

  2. Thanks for this! I wish you could teach that lesson in every relief society!

  3. This is AWESOME, Kara. Thanks!

  4. Kara, this is brilliant. Last week I was so proud of myself for saying "No,thanks. Not this year." when asked if I'd help with Strawberry Days again. I've done it since 2008 or 2009 and I just didn't want the hassle again. I wish this is the kind of "Enrichment" (or whatever we are supposed to call it now) activity/lesson our ward would have. Maybe I'll suggest it and give them your name and you can tell them "No" too! ;) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Loved reading this post. My mom had a note that she kept posted where she could see it daily: Learn to say no to the things you don't want to do.
    I've read that scripture from Mosiah several times, but reading it today seemed to bring it into focus. Thank you for sharing your wisdom :o)