A Truthful No Vs A Dishonest Yes

No one will like you less for saying you cannot do something than they will for saying you can, but not following through.

We all get overwhelmed and overloaded at some point in our lives, especially with the constant barrage of input and information we have coming at us every day in our digital age. There are only so many hours in a day and we only have so much attention to give. It is okay to admit that we are at our maximum capacity, that we don’t have the bandwidth to take on new tasks or responsibilities.

When we agree to do something or to take on some new responsibility, we are making a promise to both the other person and ourselves that we can and will complete the task or fulfill the obligation. If we value our word, this is a serious commitment. If we cannot follow through, not only does this harm our reputation and devalue our word, but we also fractures us internally, dividing who we think we are and who we want to be from who we actually are and how we show up in the world.

The more we overextend ourselves, the more we fail. The more we fail, the more fractured our self-identity becomes, and the more frustrated, disappointed, and angry we become at the world for asking so much of us and at ourselves for not being able to live up to others’ and our own expectations. Our mental health demands that we create boundaries in our lives to protect us from becoming overextended. It is better to say ‘no’ honestly than to say ‘yes’ and make liars of ourselves.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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