Did your eyes just widen after reading that title!? Like seriously, not sharing is completely contradictory to the foundation of our youth. We MAKE our kids share ALL THE TIME. And of course, sharing is an important concept for everyone to learn...especially children. It’s important to create a sense of community and concern/regard for others. But...I think there’s a time and place for EVERYTHING. And I’m pretty sure that I’m in a place where my life REQUIRES me to be a bit stingy and NOT SHARE. I’ll elaborate. ☺️
Okay, so clearly, I’m not suggesting that I don’t share ANYTHING, EVER. But I have recently prescribed to the notion of simply saying “no” as a vital form of self-care. For example, I was enjoying a sour gummy bear just the other day...minding my own business, when my three-year-old toddles into the room asking to “have shum.” He’s cute, like really cute so it took a little bit of effort, but I smiled at him, tilted my head a bit to the side and said “no honey.” The disappointment on his little face was REAL, BUT... (and this is an important “but” so don’t miss it) he got over it in less that 33 seconds (I’m serious, I counted...lol). His face went from sadness to outright joy when he realized he could go outside and play with his water guns. And let me not forget to mention that he’d JUST had a piece of candy from his dad, so honestly, I was doing his baby teeth a big favor by refusing to share my candy with him anyway. 😉
The point is though, that while I absolutely could have shared my candy, I positively did NOT WANT to. Not because I don’t love my son and not even because he’d already had enough...but simply because it was mine to enjoy and I didn’t want to share it with him or anyone else for that matter. Oh and if you have multiple children like I do, you understand that sharing with just ONE kid will NEVER FLY. So, allowing him a piece of candy would have easily turned into passing my sour gummies around as community property. I wasn’t interested in that. I just wanted to enjoy my little sugar escape to myself without having to wait until my kids went to bed or while hiding in my closet behind the bottom row of clothes (my kids are relentless at hide ‘n seek). I just decided that I don’t want to hide all the time to have what’s mine. And as a result, my kids (and other people in my life) have to hear “no” a bit more than before.
I’m cool with it, but I’m not oblivious to the fact that it can be a challenge for others. So for those of you that feel conflicted by this, I challenge you to consider the following:
Saying “no” can be healthy for those around you. Being turned down is a natural part of life and I’d argue that people who have grown used to being told “YES” all of the time can be a bit entitled and may even become toxic when they finally hear “no.” I have no room in my life for toxicity, so if you’re in my circle, you’re gonna get this “no” sometimes.
Saying “no” can be therapeutic for you. As we all wear so many hats on a daily basis, taking care of the needs of so many people (spouses, children, family members, bosses/co-workers, even strangers), taking a turn for yourself is mandatory. We’ve all heard it before: you can’t pour from an empty cup. So get yours first, then once you’re full, you can go back to saving the world around you.
You deserve to have your power back and utilizing the word “no” is one of the most effective ways to do so. In a world where our voices are often hushed (especially women and most especially Black women), it can be a groundbreaking phenomenon to use your words and actions to take your power back. Let your voice be heard, in even the smallest matters...because the small stuff becomes the big stuff.
Self-advocacy begins with your voice and it’s not limited to people outside of your home. Saying “no” and proclaiming that you aren’t sharing today is good for your spouse or partner, children, parents, whomever. By practicing this most healthy form of self-care you are teaching those around you how to treat you and giving them room to demand the same from others as it relates to their own self-care. It’s basically a win-win. So the next time someone asks you to share your space/food/time/energy/money/etc. and you sincerely DO NOT want to, respond by saying “sorry, I’m not sharing today.”