by NativeRemedies on June 24th, 2010 at 7:00 am
A couple months ago, I started wondering why saying “yes” felt so right and saying “no” left me feeling so guilty. After reading a particularly poignant article, I realized I had a disease. Yes, that’s right; I had a “disease to please”. I would continually strive to do more and more for people, even when their interests got in the way of mine. Although this was always my choice, I would walk away feeling disappointed and irritable.
This year I decided to stop saying yes and learned that there is another alternative to just a plain “no” (which always made me feel horrible), and that was to say no with respect. This meant I was going to have to learn to set boundaries, a task that was so foreign to me and an obstacle I had yet to overcome. In good faith and ready to make a change for my own sanity (and to manage my stress levels), I decided to try it out.
Individuals by nature do not want to feel rejected, and saying “no” for some is a form of rejection. Saying no to the people you work with or the people you love can be very hard, but truthfully, saying yes and not meaning it will only make you resentful and cause strife between you and the person. Learn that saying no isn’t that uncommon; in fact, it is a sign that you are a person with boundaries, and though you don’t mind to help out sometimes, your goals are just as important as everyone else’s.
You need to know what tasks may make you feel resentful, like taking on an extra workload, doing the dishes when it’s not you turn, or going on vacation and your partner planning an activity you aren’t comfortable with. Tell your co-worker that you aren’t comfortable with the amount of work you are taking on and you feel there should be a compromise, or tell your partner you need a compromise as well when vacation is involved.
The truth is, it is not anyone else’s job to know your boundaries, it’s yours! Don’t be afraid to say “I’m not comfortable” in any situation. Chances are, that person has been in your shoes once before and is willing to compromise – plus, this is a very respectful way of saying no.
Make Your Own Choices!
It feels great to do things for people; however, only do the things you let yourself be responsible for. The easiest way to control this process is to only set out to do what you want to do out of love or compassion. If you choose to do something out of love or compassion, chances are, your boundaries will never be invaded.
Let go of unwanted guilt and learn that you don’t have to make excuses for your decision. Let the other person know that you identify with them, but unfortunately, you can’t help them with their issue. In the long run, quelling your people-pleasing ways will improve your relationship with others and yourself, ten fold!