Monday, October 19, 2009

When yes actually means no.

Well, I hope it's not just me, but you see, many times I say YES when what I really meant is a big fat NO. This happens a lot when I wanted to avoid confrontation. From the earliest days that I remember I feared conflict. Some times that meant fear of getting in trouble - did you get my green crayon? Nooooo... Did you break that figurine? Nooo... You get the idea.

As I got older, things got a little more complex. I feared getting people's feelings hurt, or I feared self-disappointment. I said YES to my teacher when she asked me to represent the class in the Filipino declamation contest, thus embarrassing my folks as I deliver a very lousy performance. I said Yes I liked the gift given to me during Christmas even when I yearn for the one my sister got, because I don't want to appear ungracious when gift was given to me.

I say YES to people, family or friends when what I really mean to say, is NO. I say YES, I'll clean up the kitchen although I have no desire in me to do it, but saying yes, makes me a hero for a brief second. I would say YES when a friend asked me to accompany her to go malling when all I want to do is stay home and relax. In many instances, I don't actually like the person to whom I've just said yes, but I agree to make things "easier." I don't want an argument. I don't want a fuss. And many times I say yes to go along with the crowd, even if I am agreeing to something I don't want to do. I think all these boils down to the same thing - I don't want to upset the other person and I prefer to say the thing that will cause the least amount of conflict.

Maybe it's because of what my old folks had instill in me about good manners, politeness and regard for the needs of others. It is little wonder, that by the time I reach adulthood, refusing a request from anybody seems like an awfully selfish thing to do. I do have become accustomed to putting the needs of others before my own; hence my reluctance to say "no."

But with maturity, I had somehow gotten beyond this. As I get older, I finally start to realize that life is just way too short to spend time being miserable. As I mature, I realize that being a little bit selfish really isn't necessarily a bad thing. Pleasing others to keep relationships together may be noble, but sometimes people should understand and treasure the concept of personal space.

How about you? Do you also fear saying NO for want not to be regarded as a difficult, negative or unobliging person?


Anonymous said...

I used to be a pleaser too! Awhile back I realized you can say no and still be kind and thoughtful of others. Sometimes you can be a better friend to people when you say no to things because when you say yes you have more energy to give. Some people like things to go the way they want, but they will always be that way, and no amount of pleasing will do. Sometimes you just have to say, this is what I can do, and if its not good enough well, oh well! I think its also a balancing act when it comes to giving, I mean lets face it giving is hard sometimes, but it is necessary when someone is going through a hard time. It isn't always what we want to do, sometimes when a friend is in need or going through a difficult time, we push other things aside for them. So I can see why you have struggled at times with this. I think it is hard, but I do believe saying no is important sometimes, to preserve energy for the important times, when we must give and help others. It seems most people swing in extremes, they either give too much, or give almost nothing. Kind of funny how that is.

Tracey said...

Like you, now I'm old....I say NO! xxx

Angry American said...

I'm the same. Even though I'm older, I still have a hard time saying no (specially to hot babes :D). I always put everybody, even strangers, before myself.

Unfortunately, that's also how I've gotten burned the worst, or I'm inconvenienced the most.

~Sheila~ said...

I was a people pleaser, to my own cost. As I've gotten older, I find it easier to say NO.
I find the more you say it, the easier it gets.


I too was always a yes person. From my upbringing, where no would mean a wack or shrieked at rather than being polite.
Naturally I love to help others also, it took many years for me to realise I was being used constantly and he people were rude and ungrateful.

Over the years I have changed, I learned you are not going to lose people if they are genuine about friendship etc and understand why you have had to say no.

If you say yes all the time, especially when you are tired, the person is rude, or you are always doing for others and running out of reserves, then you face resenting the people you are saying yes to.

Thats when you have to ask yourself who's problem is it? Are the other people really that bad, or is it the desire to please them that then causes you to feel resentful.

I have learned to say no, to ask for help, to push away those who hurt me. If your friends or those you love still hang around then they were always good pple to begin with.

Odette said...

What can I say to all your comments? a big resounding Yes!


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