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No!


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!"   

16 comments:

  1. I read a wonderful book called "Boundaries" it is on my book shelf bottom of my blog, because I couldn't stop and say "NO" I am burnt out, over booked or plain tuckered out. great post Josie :]

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    1. That's the point exactly, Janice... we do and we do until we wear ourselves out. Part of being helpful and caring, but also self-caring is learning when it's time to say no!

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  2. OH I love this one! I do think my forhead has, "Wipe your feet here as you walk all over me!" I have gotten much better with everyone but my kids.....still working on it.

    Thanks for pondering with me

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    1. A familliar sign to me, Brenda! :-) It is much harder to say no when it comes to people we love, especially our kids, but sometimes we do them a favor by helping them learn to be more independent.

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  3. I see so many moms falling prey to this - like there is this weird, self-destructive thing about us where we can't say "no" and risk looking like we can't handle everything. That we are not On Top Of Things.
    I call it the "glorification of busy," and I am actually working on a post about it. We are literally running ourselves into exhaustion trying to juggle so many things.
    But me? I say no. Without a problem. because if I didn't.....balls Everywhere!! Nobody wants to be around for that. LOL

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    1. So true Rory, we've come to believe we are somehow failures if we can't keep all the bases covered and still look like we walked out of a magazine at 6 PM. So much for women's liberation, huh? I'm like you, if I take on too much, it all falls to pieces, so better to pick and choose what I think I can handle well. Will look forward to your post!

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  4. Great post! "With age comes wisdom".
    I know that as I got older I became more tolerant. I also learned to choose my battles. I am still learning.

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    1. In some ways I've become more tolerant and understanding, Annie, and in others I've become less tolerant... certainly of users, abusers, and those who feel the world owes them. You are right about choosing our battles though, we can't fight them all.

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    2. That's it: I am more tolerant with petty things. I used to have to argue my point, thinking it made me heard. Letting that go allowed me to choose my battles. No, I have no tolerance for abuse, violence, or such. Ever.

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    3. I was like that too Annie, believing that convincing others was somehow necessary to affirm my own sense of worth and control over my life. Now I know that what I believe is all that matters, not how many I convince.

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  5. wish I could go back in time.... I would say NO, **** NO!!!!

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    1. Ooooh me too, Robin... about a dozen key times I can think of off hand! Would have changed the entire course of my life! Hindsight is always 20/20! :-)

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  6. I am good at NO. Maybe too good? Always have been. I am trying to have a more balanced vocabulary throwing in a yes once in awhile.

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    1. Sometimes I think I am a bit that way too, Patricia. I have learned that I struggle to keep my committments, so I tend to say know just to avoid the possibility of failing. I also guard my free-time very jealously, so will say "no" if someone wants a chunk of it for something I doubt I'll enjoy.

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  7. This was a very interesting and touching post. It hasn’t been a problem that I myself encountered, but I can understand how difficult this could be.

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    1. Thank you Shimon, people tend to take advantage of those who can't or won't stand up for themselves. It is good to say "yes I can" or "yes I will", but it is also good to know when to say NO! It makes it much happier living life on our own terms!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)