Sign In or Register here

ASK MERRILY/The Courage to Renege

Posted on Jun 16,2009
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

I need to find the courage to do what I need to do.

Last fall, the advisers of the youth group at church asked me to help chaperone the backpacking trip to the Rockies in July. I agreed - I love the West, it's free.

Now the trip is two months away. Not only have I lost interest, but I could be laid off. I'm getting very little out of church on Sundays and moving in a new direction. There are other advisors for the trip. I'm along as an extra pair of hands. I learned last night at a meeting that we advisors have to help at various fundraisers for the trip. I'd rather be shot.

I feel guilty. I SHOULD honor the commitment. How do I renege without feeling like a schmuck?  Do I HAVE to do it in person?


Dear Schmuck,

Guilt, should, schmuck, renege. These judgmental words hide courage under a rug and then stand on it.

Your courage can be found in your heart. From there, seeing clearly what is best for you will empower your actions.

The word SHOULD puts up red flags and sets off alarms. Its use is a clear indicator that we are not coming from the heart. Put SHOULD to rest. If you must keep company with guilt, let it walk quietly behind. Curtail the unkind habit of calling yourself a schmuck.

Consider your family dynamic around honoring commitments. Does it allow change without shame?

Also look at your decision making process. Do you make decisions on the spot? Or do you consider carefully all aspects of an obligation before accepting?

Some decisions just don’t work out as our lives change direction. This is not a problem but a time to make a new decision.

Never believe you are the only person for a job, as life has a curious way of making easy substitutions.

Withdraw via a brief letter. The written word is final, clear and doesn’t change as it passes from person to person. Breathe a sigh of relief and relax into knowing you have made a decision with wisdom and kindness.

Look for yourself in Byron Brown’s book, Soul without Shame, and let me know what you find.

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Email questions to,or use online form at

Loading Loading..

Shopping and Services Guide

Exclusive deals from the best locals!

Browse our highlighted partners
Spas, retailers, restaurants and…
so much more.