I'm joining Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose where the writing prompt for today is "new". Brenda asked us if there was a new talent that we picked up later in life...
I'm not saying "no" in response to Brenda's question. In fact there are quite a few things I've learned later in life after pounding my head on the wall repeatedly for most of my younger adult years. :-) One of the most important is when to say NO!
I knew the word well when I was two years old, I could make "bad eyes" and stomp my foot in stubborn refusal with the best of the bunch! But as I grew up I learned that we weren't supposed to say no. "Good people" were expected to say "yes" to everything and everyone... do what was asked, be what you were told to be, and put up with what was expected of you. If you could, you should, It didn't matter if you wanted to or if it was right for you. You just said "ok" and didn't complain... much... at least not within ear shot. Play by the rules and do whatever was asked; be a people-pleaser, whatever that took.
I remembered my mom getting called many times by people asking her to do major baking for some church, school, or social function. She never said no, even when she was tired, even when it was too much, even when it was on very short notice. I'm not saying that helping out was wrong. What was wrong was that she was on that invisible list of folks who could always be counted on, thus making them easy targets while everyone else found ways to avoid helping out at all. It would have been unthinkable for her to say no.
For many years I followed the same path in my jobs and in my marriages. Never stand up for yourself, never draw the line, never say no. I think that I must have had "doormat" tattooed on my forehead! There are many people in the world who will take advantage of folks who are unwilling or unable to say no. They will use you until you are all used up!
I finally realized at some point that I had that if I didn't stand up for myself no one else would either. I began to fight back. I began to set limits for what was expected of me and what I would tolerate. The final end of living my life in "doormat" mode came when I stood up to my ex and basically said "I've had enough", and I left. It took me nearly ten years to get to the point where I was angry enough to finally say no more. It comes much easier to me now days. :-)
What I've learned is that there is a time for saying no. It goes hand in hand with self-love and self-respect. It is responding from the inner awareness that says "I am of value... I am worth more than this... I deserve better... I insist on being treated with dignity and respect!"