“NO” IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE
If you habitually say “yes” to keep other people happy, try
saying “no” and see how it feels. Saying “no” first is
a fascinating way to learn about boundaries, preferences, and
“what is true now.” If you decide that you do want to say yes,
it will be because YOU WANT TO, not because of habit.
I was thinking of this Eloheim tool today as I contemplated some possibilities that were asked of me recently. Eloheim says for many of us, in particular women, it is typical to say yes when we are first asked to do something even though in our hearts we may really want to say no. We strive to keep others happy so we push our desires aside and say yes, often to our personal detriment.
For me, I tend towards the opposite direction, especially if what is asked makes me the focus or it puts me into new territory. “No” is my answer immediately. My usual reactions are “I can’t” and “I don’t know how.” I doubt my abilities often. I have said many times that I am competent in many things, not outstanding in anything. However, after the first reaction, the more the idea circulates, the more I come into line with what is being asked of me and will change my mind and say yes.
I used to say yes most of the time. Especially in my daycare.
“Can you take on my kids? I hear good things about you.” Flattered, I would say, Sure, what’s two more? That’s how I ended up with a lot of kids in my care. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my kids, they me, and I took care of them really well. I didn’t do it for the money. I just didn’t know how to say no.
“Do you mind if I go to the store before I pick up my kids?” No problem. And they would show up an hour or more later, really cutting into my family and off time. I would smile and say nothing. And never asked for more money for the extra time I spent with their children.
“Can I pay you next week, I’m short this week?” Sure, that’s fine. I can wait. I know you are having difficulties. And then I would be short on money for my own family because I always made sure the daycare kids had what they needed as far as food and toys and crafts and gifts went.
I did not value myself, leading many of the parents to do the same. Which also led to a whole lot of resentments building up in me. After nine years I got smart, decided to stand up for myself and made some changes. In the process, I lost families, but I didn’t lose income. In fact, I gained some. And the ones who remained with me really appreciated me and showed it. I was so much more relaxed and happy for the last few years of my daycare.
I learned to value myself and my time from that experience.
So, what’s left after ridding myself of the automatic yes response? It is still the impulse to vehemently say NO first to unfamiliar requests of me, especially if it involves stretching my own self-imposed boundaries. Today I realised that both of these reactions are based on fear. Fear that people won’t like me, fear that I’ll be judged lacking, fear of looking stupid.
I am clearly seeing these reactions as fear now. Awareness is very important. Reacting without being aware allows for no growth whatsoever.
Which reaction do you respond with first when you are asked to do something? No? Or yes?