Lately three different people have complained to me about being “taken for granted”…not by me, by someone else. They were different scenarios but in my opinion their problems stemmed from the same thing… they did not say “no.” I used to have the same problem. I was a people pleaser and even if I didn’t want to do something, I did it anyway because I either didn’t want to make them mad or well… that’s it… I didn’t want them to be mad at me.
I don’t know if it’s the fact I am older and therefor tired of getting “kicked in the ass” by so-called friends or family, that finally gave me the courage to say no, or I more aware of time and how little we all have, and how its better to spend it doing things we really want to do. I mean just saying “yes” to accommodate another person isn’t being genuine. I am talking about lending money (or really giving… you know you won’t be paid back) or going out of your way for someone who #1 made some bad financial choices or #2 cannot manage their own time.
I listened to my friends who complained about the same stuff I once did and tried to give them the same advice that “woke me up” to my own behavior, or at least to my part in the drama…. “I allowed that person to do that to me.” Those are pretty powerful words. If you think about, we all play a part in what happens in our lives… at least most of the time. Of course there are times we get into jams through no fault of our own…like getting smacked in the head by a falling meteor, but most of the time we are guilty of not standing up for ourselves…for whatever reason.
Saying no is difficult, especially when the person who does the asking seems to really need help or is in a position to make your life miserable. How many times have I worked through my lunch break to get something out to meet a deadline, only to suffer for it later…like having a hypoglycemic episode? And did I even get a “thank you” from the boss, who by the way, made sure she ate her lunch…of course not!
Saying no takes courage and the willingness to not care what others think about you. I think having rectal cancer and showing my rear-end to an army of interns at UCI made me not care too much what people thought about me anymore.
Then there are times when we do say no, but only after giving a thorough explanation of why… when as Oprah once said, “No is a complete sentence.” We really should not feel obligated to do something we really do not want to do… and I don’t like the word “should” either ,but I will make an exception in this case. We fill our heads with too many shoulds, when I think it’s better to rephrase and say “could”…it sounds more positive.
We shall see if my words of advice will be taken. I do try to be supportive but I also want to be honest with them and hopefully they will feel empowered to stand up for themselves. I read recently in one of the Buddhist books, that to live a genuine life sometimes requires being honest with someone, even if they might not like it. Hopefully, they will at least know that I won’t just blow smoke up their ass, but instead offer my real opinions.
Do you find yourself having trouble saying no?
Peace, Happiness and Health!