In life we have many opportunities to practice equanimity. One opportunity could be the traffic that caused you to be late for a client meting. Another could be a prospect that failed to respond to your proposal timely, if at all. And then, there is this: Your computer crashed, and in the process you lost a presentation that took days to prepare.
To experience equanimity is to acknowledge that you have a choice in how you respond to those opportunities. You can react with frustration and anger. You can also react calmly and surrender to what is. Equanimity, as defined, is the art of meeting life as it meets you - calmly, without drama or fuss.
Part of equanimity includes being okay with saying no, which was the topic of the week’s group session.
We often say yes when we should say no. For example, we agree to accept troublesome clients. We say yes to taking on additional work when our schedule is full. We say yes to canceling an important business trip because a friend or family member does not like your co-worker, you promised to change a light bulb in their house, or some other trivial reason.
We say yes because we want to be accepted and liked. We say yes because we do not want to disappoint. We say yes because we hope to get something for the sacrifice we will make.
Yet, how many times were you really rewarded, accepted, or liked?
Here is what tends to happen when you say yes when you really should say no, using the same examples.
That troublesome client caused your stress level to increase. You know what also increased? Visits to your doctor. The additional work you accepted caused you to miss your child’s soccer game. Or maybe you dropped the ball on another project because your schedule was full. And by canceling the business trip, you missed the opportunity to acquire new business.
Saying no can be positive. For example, when you say no, you are really saying, “I respect myself.” You protect others when you say no. You tell the truth when you say no. The examples could go on and on.
In conclusion, how do you stay empowered in a world where external circumstances seem to be conspiring against you? Equanimity! Acknowledge that you have a choice in how you respond to anything. That includes being okay with saying no.