say no

No is not a dirty word

My plans today…nothing! Absolutely nothing. I am going to rest, start a jigsaw puzzle, work on the computer a bit, order a pizza for dinner, and sleep as much as I can. So I guess my do-nothing day is actually quite full.

Today doesn’t need to give me warm fuzzies and be pain free to be enjoyable; although those would be nice to have. No, it just needs to be a day where I focus of the good things in life even if the only good thing I can think of is the fact that I’m alive. When you have your day in focus, it doesn’t matter if you have Multiple Sclerosis or a splinter in your finger, you are going to have a good day.

Why is that? How can someone be dealing with constant pain, unbearable fatigue, continual falls, being misunderstood, overlooked and under appreciated, have a good day?

Think about it. I could choose to focus on the fact that MS is kicking my butt this week, that I burned my toast this morning and my coffee burned my tongue—I could allow those things to dictate how the rest of my day will be—or I could decide that even though I’m hurting, I’m going to find something good about the day and enjoy it.

With a little bit of imagination you can turn laundry time into an adventure, cook like you’re Julia Child’s protege even though all you’re making is macaroni and cheese, and tackle the work pilling up on your desk one stack at a time.

Your world won’t collapse because you didn’t finish something. You are only one person and have a limited number of hours in a day to complete everything you want done. Do what you can today and leave the rest for another day.

Sometimes the choices of what needs to get done are hard to make. No one wants to tell their boss the deadline needs to be pushed back a week or give up tickets to a concert tonight. But if you have to cancel something, do it without any regrets or guilt. Just do your best.

Doing your best may require telling someone “no”…the hardest word in the English language for some people to say. But no is not a dirty word. It is a surviving word and something we all need to become more familiar with. It’s okay to say “no.”

Today is my say no day. It’s one filled with chaos and I’m prioritizing it cautiously. I am letting go of yesterday and of the hurts that come from not being able to do the things I used to be able to do. I’m choosing to focus on those things I can do.

Right now, my bed is calling my name and even though it’s still really early in the morning, I’m going to sleep. That’s one of those can do things on today’s list.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

32 replies
  1. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Well thought trough Penelope. Today I am going to chop up some more for our woodburner an set up for a few days. I also have stopped our front door from making a hole in the hallway wall when it opens. I got sick of seeing the development of a mark in the wall and so I fixed it today..So I will have a quiet night I think.

  2. Carla L Broadbent Rogers
    Carla L Broadbent Rogers says:

    Good morning. “NO” is an easy word to use…….it can be NO! or it can be ON!. With MS we need words like that. They are simple, easy to remember, easy to say and have multiple meanings. I like getting my day started with you Penelope, you get the sweet juices flowing in my brain. I let the sour ones just wait for another time.
    Be well.

  3. Amy
    Amy says:

    Excellent post! One of the easiest things to forget with MS is to rest.

    I took a say no day a couple of weeks ago, and it was a great decision. Instead of muddling through a bad day and stressing myself out over not accomplishing everything, I rested so I could be in better shape for the next day instead of wearing myself down even more.

    Thanks for the reminder that No is not a bad word.

  4. Celena Feilteau says:

    Had the same discussion with my warrior! It comes down to knowing ones’ limitations ad respecting them. Otherwise, your body will be happy to let you know when you have pushed too far 🙁

  5. Meeya
    Meeya says:

    Thanks to incredibly nice colleagues & bosses, I can look forward to a looong weekend – four days to lock my door, put up a big “NO”-sign in my window, and listen to my body’s needs… 😊
    Sleep as much/ long as possible without bad conscience or feelings of guilt 😉
    Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

  6. Sue Smith says:

    Sometimes nothing is what has got to done. Watching old tv programmes maybe a film (if I can concentrate for long enough). Read a little bit. Play on my phone. That will take all day. Lunch, dinner and cups of tea courtesy of my family. Dog on lap. Xx

  7. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I feel like I’ve just been given permission to say “no”. Being a people pleaser I have always overextended myself, and this past week it has taken its’ toll. My fatigue is over the top but I will listen and also rest today. You drink coffee, I drink tea, and I raise my cup to you. Salute to “no”!

  8. Leslie Beaver says:

    You are very correct about no. When we say “no”for no reason, we can expect to be criticized. And fair enough. But when our body says no? Well that is completely different. Our minds are powerful and the will may be strong. But only a fool ignores the messages being sent by our bodies. Especially we with ms. So rest with a clear heart and mind.

  9. Buffy Marie Spring says:

    Thank you for all you do, for your encouraging words……you always seem to put into words what I’m feeling. I have been having one of those weeks as well, and have a hard time with feeling guilty doing nothing. It’s so good to know we are not alone in this fight, that others get it. And you help me keep my positive attitude through it, always refocusing my thoughts – I can only hope to do the same as I share with others. I will continue to pray for you. Enjoy your puzzle, pizza and rest today.

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