If I can’t say no

I have a hard time saying no. I don’t want to disappoint people, so I make myself unhappy. Right? Wrong!

Reading books I don’t like, for example, that’s a big one. But honestly, how hard can it be? Read the book, post a review – or not – and that’s that. Except that it takes another several hours out of life – my life – reading another book I don’t especially want to. And it’s become another bad habit.

I’m not a book reviewer, though of course I delight in reviewing books I love. I would want to do that in any case, knowing how much I welcome reviews from supportive readers. (I welcome reviews from unsupportive readers too, but that is another story.) And generally, though I welcome reviews, I very rarely solicit them, as I feel that a book out in the public fends for itself, by and large.

But, partly because of my intensive stint of work on Authonomy, I’ve had to relearn how to read books for sheer pleasure, separating editing and critique from what I am reading for enjoyment, as far as I can. A process which has taken a few years – far longer than I expected it to.

So, of course, I should say NO to books that I don’t want to read, without having to list the reasons why not, or justify my choice to myself. Since the reasons are only for me and my conscience…

After all the hard work and the heartache to reach this day, if I can’t say No to what I don’t want, what has been the point of all my previous introspection and soul-searching? Saying No is absolutely key to getting around, finally, to doing what I want to do. Which, since it take effort and time, I deserve to prioritise.

It is not a mistake or a failure to lay aside a job that makes me feel heavy. It is, in fact, the way in which to make a happier, more soothing life, in which I find myself being kinder to myself and other people too. What’s not to like?

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