day 18 – learning to say no
Have you ever met a 2-year old when they’ve just learned the power of the word “NO”. They say it with vehemence. They say it and they mean it. Or at least, they think they do. Maybe they just like the shape of it on their lips, or the way it sounds. But they use it, they practice it, they test their boundaries with it.
And then we break the habit right out of them. Because “no” is synonymous with being selfish, uncooperative, not nice, negative, unfriendly, unloveable.
Sure, there are things in life that merit a resounding “NO”. The following spring to mind:
But then, there are other things, which are harder to say no to:
– When your inbox tray is overflowing at work and your boss adds a few more things to your to do list (thus setting your hair on fire)
– When people invite you to events you really don’t want to go to
– When someone you loves asks you to do something that you know you’re just going to complain about in the end
If you say yes, you’re a good person. You’re a super hero. You’re a team player. Everyone loves you. Yay! But you’re also a bit of a doormat. A very unhappy doormat.
If you say no, you run a high risk of being judged. People might stop liking you. You’ll probably be ridden with guilt.
Hmmm. Tough choice.
Hi. My name is Jeanine and I’m a people pleaser. It’s a sickness. And I do it because I don’t want people to judge me. I want them to think warm fuzzy thoughts about me. Even strangers on the street. Even the person sitting next to me on the tube. I nearly cried at The National gig the other night (ok. I really did cry) because I couldn’t get through a wall of people to join my friends. I could physically do it, it wasn’t the great wall of China after all. But I convinced myself that I couldn’t possibly – what would everyone think of me? They’d probably judge me, maybe huff, maybe give me a nasty look. Gasp! How could I live with that?
It is ex-haus-ting!
But the thing is, I’m not a golden unicorn covered in glitter blowing rainbows out of me arse. I don’t have 5 pairs of arms and 3 brains and a teleportation machine. I’m not a bloody saint. I’m human. I’m flawed. I make mistakes. I get tired. I’m emotional. I don’t like cheese cake. I lie sometimes. So sue me.
Starting today, I intend to practice the art of saying no again. And meaning it. And living through the cringe of saying it. And not going back on it with a bargain or an apology or an excuse.
This post by Sas sums it up perfectly. All you people pleasers out there, read it. It is your new bible. It is your lighthouse when you’re lost at sea. Your bread crumbs when you forget your way. It is the key out of the cell you’ve locked yourself in. It’s your new mantra.
Because this people pleasing business? It’s complete and utter bullshit.