Why Can’t I Say No?

I am curious to know what allows someone the confidence to say no. Is it the way they were raised? Was it the era in which they were born? Is it a male or female trait? In today’s society, the younger generation seems to have no problem saying no, or telling you what’s on their mind. They certainly are not afraid of the consequences. In many respects, this is an amazing and incredible gift. With the Me-Too movement having this ability and voice, it is defiantly a powerful tool. So, why can’t I be that way?

Saying no has always been an issue for me. This affliction of mine has caused lots of problems over my lifetime and in my marriage. There wasn’t an organization or group that would ask me to join that I turned down. I felt the need to belong because that is what a good parent did. I give some of this credit to my dad. He is a hard worker, drives himself hard, never gives up, and because of that, he is a successful business owner. The word no is not in his vocabulary, and so it’s not in mine. Saying no can be a double-edged sword. If you use the power of this tiny word, you can push yourself up the hill. The problem arises when you can’t stop, and you roll right off the other side.

My problem might be that I am a people pleaser. I worry if I say no. I don’t want to let someone down, make them mad, or seem incompetent. At work, I inherently feel the need to get everything done expeditiously. I’m not afraid of long hours, skipping lunch, and I rarely take time off.  Unfortunately, with my inability to say no to all the added projects, I have created a hectic schedule for myself, leaving little time for anything else in life, including sleep. 

I pride myself on being a good mom, daughter, friend, and employee. So if anyone needs me, I want to be there for them. I try to make time for anyone that wants to do things with me even at the expense of my obligations or sanity. I will forgo my happiness or rest for that of another person. To make matters worse, I can get my feelings hurt if they don’t return the gesture.  

I heard this saying at a meeting I was at recently, “We all have the same 24 hours in the day.” I thought to myself, if I could feel comfortable with what I wanted to do during my day without the guilt I perceive from others, I might be able to get through my day without feeling overwhelmed and maybe say yes to the things I want to and no to the things I don’t. I am not sure there is an easy fix to my problem, but I do know the first step is acknowledging you have one. Wish me luck on my journey, and if you have any suggestions, I would love for you to share.

 

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