It Is Ok To Say No
I was reading one time and it said the hardest thing in the world for adults to do is to say no to their parents. I have watched people who would run themselves ragged because they could not say no when the parents were demanding. I know it sounds strange and many will probably say “Oh I have no trouble” and yet, the next time their parents demand of their time, they will give in. This is not saying we do not do for our parents and we do not be with them. I am talking about the parents who think we should drop everything for whatever it is they need because they demand it.
It is because the “parent-child” feeling comes back when we were little and that overrides the adult relationship that we should have. When we are grown, we might still be the “child” of our parents but we are no longer children and should be having an adult relationship. Many older parents can not do that and try to be in charge and control their children’s lives like they did when they were little. They have not let go of their children and realized they are adults.
Saying No is very releasing and empowering. It took me years to learn to say “No, I can not.” How many times have you agreed to do something…work at the church bazaar, help a fundraiser, babysit..whatever…when you already had other plans and really did not wish to …but you were afraid to say no. I think we become afraid to say no because we do not want to make others mad or are afraid they will not like us if we do not say yes or that we will look bad.
I literally practiced in front of a mirror for months before I finally summoned the courage to say “no” to someone who wanted me to help with this sale telling me that they were alone..that the other person had backed out. Turned out, the person was going to leave me alone because they really wanted someone to do it for them so they could go do what they wanted to do. But, I managed to say no to her. I had plans and I hated doing sales. I had come home too many times in the past after saying yes..mad at myself because I had said yes when I did not want to. Yes, the woman got mad but the relief I felt after I said no was immense.
I do not mean say no to everything and everyone. I mean…when you really do NOT want to do something, when you have other plans, when it is something that is not something you feel comfortable doing..whatever….then say no. If you say yes when you feel caught in a corner, or you are busy and do not want to or you just plain do not feel like it, all you will do is be upset the whole time because you got yourself into something that you really did not want to do.
I had someone ask me once when I wrote on this “well it is only a little thing they ask”. That is true, but what happens is when we agree when we do not want to and people become accustomed to us always agreeing, our good nature gets taken advantage of. One little thing can add up to many things because people will learn to say “oh ask so and so…she will always do it”. It is OK to say no. It is NOT bad to say no when you really do not want to do something or you already have other plans or whatever.
I had my parents get mad at times because I would not ride 8 hours to do for them what the assisted living facility was already doing. They were not sick or in need. The facility took care of everything. My parents did not need us to come fix food for them or change their linens or clean their room or even entertain them all day. They just felt that their children should do it all and were very demanding about it. I was already going and spending weeks at a time living there with them to help them and when I was too exhausted to go on specific times, I said no.
Yes, that was an uncomfortable feeling having your parents be mad but it was either live with their madness or become resentful that I was being coerced into doing something I just was too exhausted to do right at that time. I knew they were fine. I knew they were taken care of. I had just left from up there after three weeks being with them a week before. But, it is how some parents can become…demanding and mine would evoke the guilt button to try to get you to do things and to take not just some of your time but all of your time…just like with me living there instead of going and visiting and staying with my siblings at night.
I think sometimes we say yes for a few reasons when we do not want to. One, we want people to like us and saying yes we think will do it and will make us “popular”. Took me years to realize that if the only reason people liked me was if I said yes to everything..then they did not really like me, they liked having me do whatever it is they wanted when ever they asked. Another reason I think is the idea of “confrontation” is hard. People are afraid of the reaction that comes when we say no. I was for years and then one day, I learned that the world did not end because I said no to being asked to help with an event at church. I have seen parents who would not tell their children no because they did not want to deal with the tantrum or fit that they knew would come and it was easier to just say yes. The consequences are not easier. It teaches our children to become demanding.
So, if you find yourself getting mad at times because you say yes all the time, if you find yourself with a churning stomach, a headache after you have said yes to do something you really did not want to do, if you find yourself coming home and saying “what the heck did I just agree to” or similar…then ask yourself why did you not just say no? If you find yourself resentful of things you are doing, why did you not just say no? What were you afraid of? If you feel like too many things and people are taking all your time and you feel discontent because you can not seem to find time for yourself, ask yourself why you have just not said no to some of those things? It is ok to say no. The world will not end because you tell your parents or someone who you can not come right that minute, that you can not stop fixing your own yard to come do theirs first. People that know you and love you will love you even if you say no. If someone gets mad and never speaks to you again because you told them no, then I would question the relationship.
Decide what you really want to do, what you can do and not be miserable, what is essential for you to do and no, helping with that bazaar is not life essential LOL, and learn to step up for you and say no when you do not really want to or you already have plans, etc. You are worth it.
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