September 4, 2017

When to say OUI and when to say NON

Bonjour à tous! Hello everyone!  If you are reading this from the States, I hope you are having a beautiful Labor Day weekend. If you are somewhere else in the world, I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

I have been looking forward to sharing today's topic with you as it is one I have been working through in my own life: when to say OUI (yes) and when to say NON (no). 

I was listening to a coaching call with Carrie Anne of French is Beautiful over the weekend. (Carrie Anne has so many wonderful resources for those interested in immersing themselves in French language and culture. She has become a huge part of my Francophile journey.) As she discussed the topic of bien-être, well being, this idea of saying NON surfaced. In American culture there is a tendency to add more and more to the t0-do list, to associate being constantly busy/productive with success. As an American expat in Paris, Carrie Anne understands this but also brings the French perspective to the table, this idea that knowing when to say NON is incredibly important. She shared that the French focus on endurance, releasing themselves from the feeling that they haven't done enough and embracing moments to pause and step away. There is value in listening to your body, in knowing when you need to say NON to that last minute dinner invitation because you simply need to rest and restore in solitude. Saying NON does not need to be rude or harsh or cause guilt that prevents you from enjoying the time you truly need. When we say NON with graciousness we are honest with ourselves and honest with others. We feel genuine, true to ourselves.

There is, of course, always the other side of the coin. As important as it is to know when to say NON, it is equally as important to know when to say OUI. I read the The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes earlier this year (the audio version is fabulous). The premise of Rhimes' memoir is that she realized that out of fear, she wasn't saying OUI to anything. The result? Missed opportunities that had the potential to open doors that would allow her to feel like her truest self. Shonda was saying NON out of fear. Fear of failure, fear of inadequacy. I've realized that I sometimes say NON because I'm simply overwhelmed. 

I was recently given a wonderful opportunity that was completely in line with my passions and my dream of creating and living a life I love. OUI or NON? While OUI sounds like the obvious response, I let a knee jerk reaction in that moment control me and I said NON. Are you kidding? I'm so overwhelmed right now! How could I possibly consider adding another thing to my plate?! What followed was regret. I had missed a beautiful opportunity. I hastily e-mailed to change my response. I felt anything but self-confident and poised. In all honesty, I felt like a mess. In the end, it wasn't too late. I got to change my answer to OUI and now I am energized with excitement and ideas as I begin prepping and planning. But I think this whole thing could have been a lot simpler, and a lot of stress and anxiety could have been avoided.

I want to circle back to Carrie Anne's advice of listening to your body. I think this is so important when it comes time to say NON, but I think it is equally as important when it comes time to say OUI. Moving forward, I am going to approach OUI and NON in a much more French way. Instead of answering immediately, I am going to grant myself the time to pause and step away. I am going to use that time to listen to my body, to my mind, and truly hear what it tells me. Does the thought of saying OUI weigh me down, cause fatigue, increase my anxiety? If so, it would be most appropriate to simply and graciously say NON. Does the thought of saying OUI light me up, energize me, excite me? If so, I'm saying OUI all the way. If there's one thing I've learned, life doesn't slow down, but you have the power to traverse it in a way that best suits you. I believe mindfully choosing to say OUI or NON can lead to an incredibly enjoyable journey. 

Merci for taking the time to visit and read. It is my sincere hope that in sharing these moments and thoughts with you, you find something that speaks to your heart and soul. As always, I love hearing your thoughts, advice and experiences in the comments below. I'm dreaming of making Fleur de St. Louis a more interactive community and saying OUI to projects that will bring me closer to that reality. À dimanche prochain! See you next Sunday here on the blog. 

Warm wishes from me to you,

Inspiration de la semaine (inspiration of the week):

Justine Leconte's career story:
I recently subscribed to her YouTube channel and the inspiration doesn't stop here. She is a joy!

Along the same lines as Justine's video, Lindsey Tramuta talks career shifts and passion projects with guests Thoams Abramowiscz and Usha Bora on The New Paris Podcast Ep. 7.

What Should I Read Next? Ep. 93 - Anne Bogel and guest Kristin Economos talk openly about anxiety and how reading has played a role in the journey to feel better. 

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