Volunteering to sit this one out

There are things I will easily and wholeheartedly volunteer for. Did you need someone for Puppy cuddling? I am in. Want to polish your masseuse skills – you can practice on my shoulders. Are your frangipani trees heavy with flowers that you find unsightly? I will take them off your hands.

The beauty of volunteering is, of course, that by nature, you get to elect to do something. You don’t actually HAVE to do it. Here is where the disconnect occurs with people who volunteer to wrangle up volunteers. They have chosen to do that. The people they are trying to persuade have not.

I have routinely compounded the problem when I encounter these types by drawing out a one word sentence. That sentence is “No”. I could jazz it up with a “Thank You” at the end of that complete sentence if I am feeling generous. But no, I explain myself, telling them why I have declined their request (which of course opens me up to them trying to explain the flaws in my declaration).

Tonight I was approached by phone in an effort for me to sign up for more endeavors than I offered to participate in. As I slipped in to my routine of giving too much away in an effort to explain myself, I stopped, midsentence and remember that I didn’t owe anyone an explanation for what I would or would not commit to. There was a slight pause (which I personally hate) but I stayed strong and waited it out and guess what happened? It was uncomfortable for me momentarily but not for the days or weeks or months leading up to some obligation that I didn’t want to do. And that was a beautiful thing.

 

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