Yeses and Nos

August 27, 2006 § 4 Comments

I stayed up way past my bedtime on Thursday, late enough to allow the chaos of Friday’s workday to leave me frazzled in my already delicate state.  I had a million and one things to do that night, and driving back and forth across town took a lot out of me.  On the verge of a panic attack, I threw myself into my new therapist’s office (about 10 minutes late).  The session went very well, though, and instead of climbing into my car and calling it a night, I was able to manage the rest of the obligations of the evening.

The session touched on a bunch of different things, but what he really emphasized was that I’ve not allowed myself to say "no" enough.  Whether I agree to things to please others, to avoid guilt, to satisfy some sort of made up obligation, etc., I often end up agreeing to do many things I either don’t want to do or (even more regretably) can’t.  I guess I’ve conjured up these horrific visions of possible responses to me saying ‘no’ to someone.  Would they be angry?  Disappointed?  Frustrated?  Would they love me or leave me?  Since I’ve rarely excercised that option (or when I’m unsuccessful at avoiding the question altogether), I’m usually the one left resentful of the situation or just utterly exhausted, and now I realize that I’ve lost a little bit of my self every time I say that dreaded ‘yes.’ 

A plus to finally letting myself say ‘no’ is actually being able to say ‘yes’ to more things I’d rather be doing.  I said yes to spending a lot of time with a good friend this weekend, and I loved every minute of it.  I didn’t have to be on display or act any differently, and I wasn’t obligated to do anything.  In fact, I finally felt energized enough to do something.  And one of the most amazing things about knowing someone is the delicate layers revealed  through trust, realizing how much you have in common and the fascinating newness of other things.  I guess it’s safe to say that I’m much happier for saying ‘yes’ this time.

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§ 4 Responses to Yeses and Nos

  • dpb says:

    Just go with my school of thought … ‘No’ really means ‘Yes … harder’

  • Maigh says:

    Good for you, sunshine. I had to learn this too, a while back. Feels funny at first, but soooo liberating! Here’s to many more happy “no’s”…

  • Chris says:

    Important realization. I have no problems too…because I don’t like to let people down nor do I like confrontation.

  • Wonked says:

    I find immense satisfaction out of saying “no.” The pleasure is intensified when you realize that not only are you allowed to say no, but you also don’t have to give an explanation for everything.

    Here’s a scenario I had recently with a boss:

    “Hey Wonked, have you logged a call into that prospect up in D.C.?”

    “No.”

    “I asked you to do that yesterday, what is the problem?”

    Silence…

    “Okay, you’re fired.”

    See what I mean? Who would want to work for a company like that. No one, that’s who.

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