There are many things on this Earth that require an incredible amount of faith, of taking an enormous leap and just jumping into the thick of things. Marriage, parenting, friendship, faith in ourselves. All of them require an affirmative answer to unasked questions: Yes.
When you marry, inevitably, a question gets asked; an answer is given. But before that question and answer, there are many moments that clearly define where you are going, what you are sharing, what you are seeking. And in gestures, in nonverbal acceptance, the yes comes. Yes to creating a life and home with someone. Yes to maybe going to bed angry once in a while, but knowing that the anger will subside, the cheeriness will return and all will be well. Yes to piles of chores and things to do, but always with companionship.
In parenting, the yes begins with the incredible leap from two to the thought of baby makes three (or 4, right Emily?) In the positive pregnancy test. In the delivery and congratulations that new babies bring. Afterwards, we walk around in a cloud of positives and a sleep-deprived state. And many decisions. Yes, we want the best for our offspring, but the no's come in rapid succession. Sometimes, we could have easily said yes, and we wonder why we don't more often...
Is it that we are afraid that they will become accustomed to having their way? Or are we afraid that they will not know how to handle when things don't go their way?
In friendship, we say yes to helping, supporting, enjoying each other's company. We lean on one another when situations call for it, hold hands when things are difficult, share in celebrating the joyous occasions that life brings.
But how many of us say yes to ourselves?
How many of us do for ourselves like we do for our spouses, our children, our friends? How often do we drop everything when we feel sick? How many of us call in sick to work when our child is running the slightest temperature, but will drag ourselves, half dead to work, on an ongoing basis?
We often short change ourselves with respects to parenting skills, too. We sometimes falter in the day to day stuff of parenting and worry that we are screwing up our kids. But, aren't we doing the best we know how, with our hearts in the wrong place? Don't we provide them with a clearly defined support system? Don't we encourage them from the very start? Don't we soothe them when they are upset?
Why don't we do it for ourselves?
It has taken me a long time to realize that yes to me means not being too hard on myself when I goof up, giving myself a little more credit than I usually do, and not feeling guilty when I do something that is just for me. Because, when I say yes to myself, I am happier. I am a better partner to my husband. I am more likely to say yes to my kid's non life-threatening request to doing something that will bring them happiness. I am a better friend to those who bring me happiness. I am a better me.
Saying yes to my needs and wants is just as important as saying yes to my husband, my kids, my friends. Saying yes to me helps me renew me, makes me someone others want to be around.
As I see it, there are enough martyrs in the world. I am not cut out to be something that I am not. However, I do believe in improving myself.
And really, who could say no to being better company for others, and more importantly, yourself?