I was lying in bed mentally preparing myself for my day when I received a phone call.
On the other end of the phone was someone who called to ask me if I wanted to accept a particular work assignment.
I asked them what it entailed and after they explained it to me, I said “no”. They said, “I understand, and for future reference under what conditions would you be willing to do what I had requested?” I then explained to them what conditions I would be willing to do the job and hung up the phone.
After I completed the phone call I smiled gently. I smiled because I knew I had grown in a huge area where I previously experienced great weakness.
I said no because the volume of work requested would have cost me more to do the job than what I would have earned. And it was not my desire to over give.
I said no, and I said it without feeling bad.
There was most certainly a time in my past when that phone call would have went an entirely different way. I would have said yes even though I didn’t want to. And even if I had said no, I would have tried to explain why and I would have felt very guilty for saying it.
I was such a yes person that if someone asked me if I would do them a favor, I would automatically without hesitation say “sure” before even knowing what the favor was.
I had huge self-esteem issues that led me to be big on people pleasing. I wanted people to like me and I wanted them to be happy with me so I would say yes in the hopes that they would be pleased with me. Additionally, one of the reasons why I was such a huge yes person was because I didn’t have many boundaries. As I started to say no, I began to set boundaries and I am much happier since doing so.
I now recognize how unhealthy people pleasing really is and I now say no to doing things that don’t please me, as evidenced by my phone call.
Since I have started saying no, I have not had people leave my life in mass exodus like I had imagined. For whatever reason, I thought if I told people no I wouldn’t have anyone around. But that was based on a false premise where I was making some pretty negative assumptions about the people in my life. I was under the false assumption that people were only in my life for what I could do for them.
That false assessment was not an accurate reflection of the people in my life but rather a reflection of how little I valued myself. My value of myself was so low I couldn’t fathom anyone else valuing me for who I really was, especially since I didn’t like who I really was.
It occurred to me that I had made all of these assumptions and yet I never had given them a chance to show me what would happen if I said no. I just assumed the worse of them.
So, one day I mustered up the courage to say no. I will never forget it.
I was in my office and my friend came by and asked if I wanted to go to lunch with her.
I said, “no” and it startled her probably as much as it did me.
You see, I really liked going to lunch with her. But that day I had a personal errand I needed to run. Unbeknownst to her for quite some time I had been putting off doing things I really needed to do and going to lunch with her instead. After I said no, she paused and let out a slow oooookaaaaayyyyy.
I smiled shyly and said, I have to run errands today but I would love to do it tomorrow.
She cheerfully said “oh, okay” and walked away.
I thought, ‘why hadn’t I done that sooner’.
So, I tried it again in different situations and now I have begun telling people no without much afore- or afterthought.
I am starting to do what I want to and say no to what I don’t want to do and most of the times my noes are starting to come out with me feeling no guilt. I hope to one day achieve guiltless noes and I am doing the self work to get there.
It is never about trying to be mean it is about the fact that I have made a decision to no longer purposely do things that I truly don’t want to in an attempt to please others. Especially when I have been given the opportunity to decide whether or not I would like to do it.
My noes have caused some people to get mad at me. Not very many, but some.
They would ask me if I would like to do something and I would say no, and then they would become very upset with me.
However, I recognize I have to stand firm in my “no-ness” <—- (yes I made that word up, but you know what it means).
A person should be able to say no to doing something they do not want to do especially when they were specifically asked if they would like to do it. I have had a very minute number of people leave me over my “no-ness”. And that is okay because those people were not really for me to begin with.
Furthermore, I have witnessed some people’s negative reaction to my “no-ness and I have in turn left them.
But I can lay my head down and rest easy because I was true to myself. I didn’t do anything that I regret, I didn’t over commit myself, I didn’t over-invest, I didn’t give energy I did not want to expend. I did what my heart, mind, body and soul wanted to do.
As I say no it helps me to ensure the people who are a part of my life are there for the real me. Not some me that I pretend to be in an attempt to keep them around.
I have also noticed that since I went on my personal “just say no campaign” and begun to spread the “Power of No” in my full “no,ness” I have found that I have more people in my life who are giving me positive energy, loving the me who I am and who are simply around for my company than what I had in the past.
To think, I said all those yeses and was struggling when I could have been spreading out noes and relaxing!
Don’t lie to other people and definitely don’t lie to yourself.
If you don’t want to do something tell them no. Why lie and say you want to help them move, when you know you feel like you’re coming down with the flu?
Tell the truth, tell your truth.
If they really care for you, they wouldn’t want you to do something that you genuinely don’t want to do.
If you knew someone you cared about was doing something for you that was causing them to go without sleep, not be able to pay their bills, miss out on something important to them, or made them feel uncomfortable most of you would not want the person to do it. Because you genuinely care about them and you don’t want them to suffer for you.
Well, you have to love you that much. If you wouldn’t want someone else to suffer for you, why in the world do you want yourself to suffer? Why would you value the comfort of someone else more than your own?
Stop running yourself ragged for people, over giving, over sacrificing and overdoing!
Stop pretending to be someone you aren’t and life will get easier.
Will some people get mad at you when you say no?
But you will find that when it comes to those types of people you will never be able to please them. Because people who don’t care if you are doing something that makes you unhappy for their benefit will have no problem asking you to do more.
So don’t worry about those people.
Put your first concern in your own well-being. As you hold yourself in a higher regard the people around you will as well.
Additionally, I think you will find what I did. The people who stayed genuinely loved me for the me I was, not the things I did for them through acts of service.
As you do the work of loving you, you will also find yourself not feeling guilty when others choose to throw a temper tantrum and roll on the floor while you exercise your no-ness.
Just say no!
Say no to anyone or anything your gut tells you to say no to.
Say no to anything that you genuinely have no desire to do.
Say no to anything that goes against your core values.
Say no to anything that deprives self.
I am still working on me and I want you to love yourself enough to work on you.
“You have a right to say no. Most of us have very weak and flaccid ‘no’ muscles. We feel guilty for saying no. We get ostracized and challenged for saying no, so we forget it’s our choice. Your ‘no’ muscle has to be built up to get to a place where you can say, ‘I don’t care if that’s what you want. I don’t want that. No.” – Iyanla Vanzant
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/i/iyanlavanz519952.html#GDiqkiOftZ0wGoCB.99
© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.