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Monday, March 11, 2013

How many times have you said "No" today? Last week? Last month?

It's a powerful word, but we tend to live in a "Yes" society and I can bet that most people here have a bit of a "Yes" problem. I know I do. I have guilt, I don't like to close doors, I feel like I'm going to miss out, like someone might be mad at me, like I'm obligated to participate, like I won't be asked again if I say "No".

And so I "Yes" all over the place. "Yes" to work, "Yes" to fun, "Yes" to social obligations and volunteer jobs and food. Oh man, I "YES" to food all the time.

But what happens when you try "NO" on for size? What REALLY happens when you "No" to some of these things? For me, it makes me feel powerful. Just for a split second, but it's there. I'm in control of myself. I don't have to "Yes" to everything. I can say "No" and people will find someone else to do that, or go there, or get this, or eat that. And you know what? They won't think twice about it. Because me saying "No" to something isn't really going to ruin their day. Really it's not. But saying "Yes" to something MIGHT just ruin mine.

Food for thought, but it just occurred to me recently that I get almost as much satisfaction out of saying "No" to myself and following up with the reason WHY I'm saying "No" as I do saying "Yes". When I say "Yes" it's usually to a binge. I'm saying "Yes" because I deserve it - and I do. I deserve to be full and fed and to meet my own needs. But how many times would saying "No" meet those needs just as well as saying "Yes"? The answer to that question is - A LOT. The more I say "No" and carve out my own space for myself and get what I REALLY want out of a situation, the less I need to say "Yes" to make up for feeling used and abused and put out all the time. I end up having to say "Yes" more to myself when I say "Yes" more to other people.

But what about the worrying? What about the guilt and the feeling that saying "No" means that people won't like you? Well - think about the last time that someone said "No" to you. Did you hold it over their head? Did you pass them up the next time something fun came along? Were you angry at them? Probably not. So why do we constantly assume that people won't respect our personal boundaries? Because we don't respect our own.

I'm delving into the world of "No". And that doesn't mean that I'm going to become a negative person. Just the opposite. "No" means that I am respecting my personal boundaries. It means that I am fully contemplating what to take in and take on. I'm making the BEST choices for myself, not just accepting the first thing that comes along. It's going to take some getting used to - but I'm optimistic. Because saying "YES" to a healthier me means knowing how and when to use my "No".
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have such a hard time with no too.
    3054 days ago
    Yet another area I need to work on too. Thanks for the great food for thought! I think part of the reason my weight crept back up over the past few months is that I have been saying yes to everything, be it a social event or a girl scout cookie. I like the way you framed this whole question as an issue of power. Thumbs up!!
    3056 days ago
    Hmmmm....something to think about. I'm terrible at saying "no" both personally and professionally which is something I should work on.
    3056 days ago
    boundaries are so important! way to go!
    3057 days ago
  • -POOKIE-
    I really liked this blog.

    You are so right, I know I do it myself, I stretch myself thin saying yes to this, yes to that and actually this last month or so I have been trying on NO for size by not doing extra hours at work when I am already stretched thin enough and need the time to do other things.

    However I do feel bad about it. I guess the guilt complex hasn't gone far.

    I've been bad at saying NO to food once, and needed somebody else to say it for me, thankfully he did and I didn't have to endure a pizza hangover.

    3057 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13398768
    You absolutely have no idea how profound this is to a "yes" girl. That concept of always being the "yes" girl is probably one of the reasons (not the main one) I became a social worker.

    I have honestly never thought about all the reasons that I say yes. But you got my attention. Now my curiosity is running over with the possibilities of what would happen if I said, "no".

    Thank you for these words. It has made a difference in my day today and hopefully my outlook for the future.
    3057 days ago
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