Underground Crafter’s post about culling her handmade Christmas list has got me thinking. Sometimes, as makers, we feel the urge to do everything the hand-made way. While that can be so satisfying, it can also be frustrating. There are only so many hours in our day and only so many people who will really appreciate our hard work.
This urge to make everything by hand can also limit us when it becomes a “must do”. It is so easy to forget that we make because it gives us a sense of fulfillment. If it becomes another chore, that happiness disappears and is replaced by resentment. For me, once there’s an obligation to do something that I normally think of as “fun”, my skill and quality control goes down the drain. The excitement behind creating goes away.
When we get to that level, it’s important for us to take a pause and a step back. Look at the big picture. Underground Crafter reassessed her list and decided that her parents animals are more likely okay with not having a personalized gift. It’s a very powerful (but difficult!) thing to give ourselves permission to stop and reevaluate our objectives and goals.
Stopping isn’t the same as giving up or quitting. When we stop to regroup, we are valuing our energy. During chemo and immediately afterwards, it was difficult to stop when my mind just wanted me to keep going. My energy for the day was finite and I had to really consider what I had to do and what I wanted to do for today. I balanced out my wants and my needs and made sure I had a needed break in the day.
I very quickly learned I wasn’t (and I’m still not!) Wonder Woman, nor am I Martha Stewart. I’m probably not going to make my own almond milk every day instead of buying it at the store. Not every one will be getting a hand knit from me this year. Or next year. And that’s okay. It’s okay if you don’t make your child’s Halloween costume every year. The world will keep spinning and your child will probably not be horribly emotionally scared as a result of saying, “I can’t.”
I do have the urge to knit all the things! and to have them done right now! I’m only human and it’s very easy to say “yes” and over book myself. That’s when I end up quitting in a rage. But when I take a deep breath and really think about my needs and wants it’s more satisfying to say politely, “no.” The projects I turn down don’t haunt me at night when I can’t sleep–it’s when I quit that I stew over it and beat myself up for quitting. No is much more peaceful and it means that my “yes” results in a better quality product, more detailed and brings me more pride.
I challenge you, dearest reader, to say no to something. Take a step back and reevaluate your plans. What fits and what doesn’t really fit? Is there something you can delegate? Perhaps you can renegotiate a deadline? I want to knit something for Amber but we’ve agreed to hold off until January. Maybe you can strike a similar deal with a loved one. If you can just say no to one super stressful thing, I bet you’ll feel so much better.