How to say No.

This weekend I spent some time visiting my family back home. It was a great time of refresh. I love going home and seeing my family. My parents are two of the most amazing people. They love fiercely and give to others like God does. They give advice that comes from a God given wisdom that they were gifted. So naturally they are also givers. They love to gift others with things they may need or want. They are truly such a blessing to others.

This weekend like so many others, I went home ready to enjoy some good conversation, and laughter. Since taking on this new journey of living simply, there have been few road bumps. However this weekend I was faced with one that caused my anxiety to well up in me. This was the first time I have had to tell someone, as politely as possible, No. I haven’t worked these muscles much yet, so it came as no surprise that I fumbled for the right words to say, and how to stick to my lifestyle without hurting this persons feelings. Thinking quickly as the words came from her mouth, “Oh I almost forgot, I bought you a gift this week! I can’t wait for you to see it! You are going to Love it!” It was like I was living in slow motion. I had my back turned and was trying to think fast as to how I could say no thank you.

If you have yet to be in this situation, let me tell you, it will come. The day will come when a close friend or family member will gift you an item that they found that was “So you.” This situation brings with it so much fear of hurt, for them, but also the burden of what am I going to do with this item.

So let’s get back to my response. The gift was placed on the table and I prepared to open it, knowing that I had to let this person down easily. As I opened the package there was a vase with beautiful pink calla lilies. They were so pretty and thoughtful. My wedding flowers were calla lilies so naturally I knew this gift was from the heart. It was such a sweat and thoughtful gift. Now I had a few choices in this moment, I could accept the gift and find a place for them in my home, or I could gently remind my mom that we are working really hard to stop the flow of incoming items. So I pulled on my big girl panties so to speak and said, “Mom! I love these and I love that you thought of me. They are really pretty, BUT, I am working really hard right now on stopping the flow of items coming in to my home.” DRAMATIC PAUSE! I held my breath waiting for the tears to begin, thinking I may have just broken my moms heart!

YOU GUYS, my mom’s response was simply, “Oh honey! No worries, I can return them. I have another item I am taking back there anyways. So I just saw them and thought of you.” I felt a wave of grace fall over me. I was so consumed with this idea, that I was going to hurt my mom so severely, that she may never want to see me again! Instead she told me it was okay and moved on. It didn’t break her heart. It didn’t even fracture it.

So here’s what I learned from that, it is okay to say no. It’s okay to tell someone that you are close to, that you are living in a way that allows few items to pass the gates. Give those close to you the benefit of the doubt. They may surprise you.

Although my Mom was kind in that moment, it could have gone much worse. I think you need to know who you are dealing with. If this friend isn’t someone you feel you can tell the truth to, then don’t. I know you may look at this as flat out lying to them, and yes you may be. However, I will say this over, and over again, people are SO IMPORTANT. Your relationship with people is more important in that moment, than saying No. Listen, you can accept this gift and take it home to re-gift, display, or give away to the goodwill. In that moment though, it might be important to let them know that you love that they thought of you. You love that they know you so well, they bought you something that seems made for you!

So now that you are equipped for the moment when someone gifts you an item, you can face it head on. You will be ready to choose a response that fits the moment. Be vocal about your new life. Let friends and family know that you are taking on a simpler life. When you tell them before the gifts come, you may just stop them before it happens. I have been amazed at how quickly our friends and family have accepted our decision. Some have wondered why we feel the need to live this way, while others think it is amazing and they want to know more.

So what do you gift someone that is living simply? Tune in tomorrow for more on that!


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