Cancelling plans – no more excuses!

For most of my adult life, I’ve been quite a sociable person. The thought of empty diary days used to make me panic – surely I ought to be doing something useful?!

Having chronic illness and two small children have forced me to slow down and pace myself. When I first had to do this, I struggled with worry about what other people thought of me and was concerned my friends and family would think I was slacking off. None of them ever said anything to make me feel this was, but I know it’s hard to understand something you haven’t experienced.

For a while, every time I felt I needed to say “No” to meeting up with a friend or cancel plans that had already been made, it would make me pretty anxious. I’d feel like a rabbit in the headlights and think, “What am I going to say? What’s my excuse?!” Needing to rest didn’t feel like a good enough reason. I felt I had to give an explanation that would be fully understood as I didn’t want anyone to feel rejected or think I was being flaky.

But recently I have stopped worrying about excuses. That internal panic rarely happens anymore and others’ perceptions of me don’t bother me as much. I’ve realised I’m happy to give my reasons as they truly are, whether or not the other person is able to understand them.

I’m not really sure what has brought about the change, maybe I’m just becoming a bit of a veteran! But I think the distinction between excuses and reasons is important; the former implies trying to preserve and control your reputation, while the latter is just about laying the truth out and letting people take from it what they will.

Next time you have to cancel plans because you know you need to rest, say it like it is, without worrying about how it comes across. Maybe you’ll have a helpful conversation with someone. The worst that can happen is that someone takes offence. But that’s really nothing to do with you.

 

3 Comments

  1. Hi Lotty i loved your blog its so true. I was fed up of being made to feel guilty about not going out to invited parties in the evening. It made me so upset and more anxious. I have PPMS and go to bed at 6pm. I am wiped out.

    Just going to the shops for a treat is hard work. I have to make excuses but I am happy in my own space and time. I have lived a full and happy life and when i lost my husband in 2017 i found it was easier to just not go out. Going out makes me exhausted.

    I did take all my family for easter lunch at an Italian restaurant as mum was Italian and i really made the effort. I enjoyed it very much, but it took 3 days to recover.

    If you dont suffer from chronic illness you just dont understand how hard it is for us to do these things.

    I have accepted my limitations it is time my family and friends accepted them too.
    xxxxxxx

    Like

    1. Thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed it! Guilt is so destructive, being honest and making wise decisions is the best we can do.

      I’m glad you managed to enjoy a meal out with your family 😊

      Like

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