Coping Skills: #72. Backing Out If Needed

But I'm Not Ready Yet

“The trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we’re ready for it.” – Arnold H. Glasow

Wednesday evening, I looked forward to heading to a show with my friends. However, my anxiety rose as the moment approached. A huge paper still needed finishing, and I had worked nearly 35 hours in the past 6 days while finishing finals and helping to set up a party.

When my friend came to get me so I could try to follow her to the location, I broke down in tears. My weariness and need to finish school ended up holding me back from the play. She kindly understood that I needed to back out of my commitment despite my longing to join her.

My life has been full of yeses: working until 1:00 A.M., helping with commencement, caring for a friend, buying gifts for others, cleaning up spills. The list could continue on, but this post is not to rant. Instead, I want to focus on the coping skill of saying “No” even if you previously said “Yes.”

Going back on your word is not a good habit. That is not at all the message that I am trying to send. However, there are times when we over-commit ourselves. In those situations, having the humility to back out can save you from great stress.

Plus, you often save trouble for others involved. No one can be a superhero and do everything. When we try to do more than is possible, our efforts usually are less effective and helpful. We need rest and energy to be our best selves.

Turning people down is frightening and embarrassing. However, it is sometimes the right thing to do. This coping skill might create more anxiety in the moment but is very helpful in the long term.

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