The Liberating Power of “NO”

May 03, 2023 by Cilla
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Do you sometimes find yourself in daily situations where you are expected to perform like a circus monkey? This is not meant as derogatory but merely to illustrate how we sometimes feel when faced with more work than we can manage in the time we have available to us. Yet, if you want something done ASAP, you ask a person that is swamped with work. They will plan, to their detriment of themselves. Busy people will always be available for others irrespective if they have the time or not. They are the ones that usually suffer from adrenaline fatigue.

The intention to assist is mostly human nature, but it can seriously backfire on us if we do not practice the essence of NO.

If you feel that you fall in the above category, then you are part of 90% of the population and 99% of the reason for your stress and adrenaline fatigue. We may find that the “Yes” decision is the “default choice,” the one we choose every time, however, it is not necessarily the right choice. The one answer that pleases all is “Yes, sure, no problem at all.” However, that could lead to social norms which by no means really reflect our preferences but only those of others. It is the scenario best suited to what we perceive to be less intrusive to others. When this occurs, take note that we immediately take ourselves out of the equation and it becomes all about the other person. This all sounds very grand and noble, but in simple terms, let us call it out for what it is. The factual term is “People pleasing.”

Now, “People pleasing” – Stems from the fear of rejection, non-acceptance by others, and criticism that started back in childhood. Depending on your generation, the love language is sometimes a bit twisted. If you performed very well, you were rewarded with love and acceptance. If you did not perform as expected, then love and acceptance was withheld from you. This damage gets carried throughout our lives and into every relationship. We fear that the other person might get the wrong image of who we are and withhold the approval we need to feel worthy and validated. We forget that we are already validated and that we only need the approval of people that love, care, and accept us for who we are, with no need to perform and jump through hoops.

Why is it so important that we need approval all the time? Why is it so difficult to just say NO? It is a complete sentence. Simply because the need to be accepted and loved is a basic part and need of life. We all fear rejection of self and we move around trying to please each other just so that we may belong, be accepted, and be loved. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be accepted and loved, but the price must not cost you your soul. If we are requested to do something that goes against what we believe in or which makes us uncomfortable, we have the right to say NO without any explanation.

If it does not fit into our schedule and we must flip through hoops to make it happen for the other person, then it is better to be honest and say that you are unable to assist. No explanation is needed. Oftentimes, their lack of planning will be the cause of needing your assistance to sort out their problems, especially when they have a deadline. This can become quite an abusive situation. So be careful that you do not place yourself in a situation of their saviour, as you will not be doing yourself or them a favour but will be enabling them. Do not place yourself under unnecessary stress to please anybody, only if you have the time in your day. Of course, the scenario will be different when there is an emergency.

The fear of failure stems from believing all the opinions we hear others mention about us or other people. We seldom check the facts but merely accept them more often making them our own. Opinions that usually have no basis and are not rooted in any actuality, should not matter in an individual’s life. Individuals that base their opinion of others on hearsay are not fair to themselves or to the person they pass judgment on. The important lesson here is to know that you can say NO when it does not suit you or when you do not have the capacity and please ignore the guilt feelings, as they have no place in your life.

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