Learning how not to be taken advantage of when you’re an open, empathic heart is difficult. It’s taken a long time for me to learn that saying “no” is, in many cases, better than saying “yes”. Here’s the thing about being there for everyone all the time…it’s exhausting and it doesn’t really help anyone, including you, especially if you are being taken advantage of or used you as a crutch. Saying “yes” when everything in you is screaming “no” is wrong. Yes, it is. Think about that obligatory function that you promised you’d go to with your coworker or friend even though you hate “functions” and you’re especially not into the topic. What happened when she asked you to go? Did your chest tighten up? Was there a voice in your head screaming “NO” while another was trying to find justification for saying no, while another was trying to convince you that it wouldn’t be that bad and you’d get to spend time with your friend? Did your throat start to feel like it wanted to close up? Did you already feel guilty for even thinking of saying no?
If none of this has ever happened to you, good for you! You apparently know how to say “no” in no uncertain terms. You probably won’t be interested in anything further said here. Have a nice day.
As for the rest of us who have been faced with the hard “no’s” this is for you. IT’S OKAY TO SAY NO…………TO ANYTHING! There. I said it. It’s out in the open and I feel fabulous! You do not have to be a doormat. You do not have to hold anyone else up. You can focus on the stuff you need/want.
Where is all this coming from, you may ask? Well, as I began taking writing seriously and started writing for a purpose (and hopefully make a buck or two) I learned something pretty quickly. I had to take myself seriously as a writer if I expected others to take me seriously. That meant that my writing time had to become sacred no matter whether anyone else understood it or not. It’s my job to make the people in my life understand that I am working when I am writing just as much as if I were going to the office. That means that if I’m at work I am not available to go to functions that aren’t relevant to my job or no longer fit into my plans, do favors that I wouldn’t ordinarily do while I’m on the clock and so on. When I am writing, I am on the clock and people will only take that as seriously as I do.
I’m not saying that you get to arbitrarily say “no”. All I’m saying is seriously think about the things that you’re saying “yes” to that really, really make you want to pull your hair out and examine why “no” might be a better answer. Also, think about why you want to say “no” as this could be very enlightening. If you’re saying “no” out of fear, then maybe you should think about saying “yes” (unless your fear is that saying yes will immediately lead to another situation where you are once again forced to say “yes” or “no”). Empower yourself to be you!
Just something to think about…