Why is it that we want to please others more than ourselves? That we cancel our own plans to take on the extra work shift we are too mentally exhausted to handle. That we agree to help a friend instead of going to that movie we were looking forward to…..I’ll tell you why, it’s because we live in a world full of Yes People, and I can almost guarantee you’re one of them.
Yes People put others before themselves; they live for second place. Yes People believe that in order to have a fulfilled life, they must sacrifice for others and be in a constant state of giving back.
So what if I told you I think this way of life is total b.s.?
Riddle me this: How are we supposed to be helpful to others, sacrifice our own wellbeing, and be in a constant state of giving if we aren’t mentally sound, or emotionally and physically healthy? How are we supposed to live a happy life if we forget to put ourselves first rather than let ourselves go for the betterment of others?
The answer? We can’t. But the unfortunate thing is we do it constantly. We live in a society that puts more meaning and emphasis on always giving to others rather than to ourselves. We live in a time where we feel guilty if we say no, we feel guilty if we take a break, and we feel guilty if we do something nice for ourselves for once. And you know what else? We judge and get upset with those who say no to us rather than being understanding of their busy world and respecting their decision.
Over the past couple months I have made a point to say no every now and again, and after a few practice rounds I can tell you it has been amazing. Not only do I feel happier and more relaxed, but when I do say yes to others I actually mean it. My yes’s have become more genuine, and I have more energy to engage myself in whatever ‘yes’ it is that I am focusing on. I no longer feel guilty when I say no because I know that by saying no to others, I am saying yes to myself, and I value my own self worth. I listen to my body when it tells me to take a break, and by doing so it has made me a better person to those around me. Therefore, by saying no I truly am working on being a better person for those times that I agree and say yes.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a constant people pleaser whether in regards to my work life or my friends. It is something I continue to work on, and I know a few coworkers who would argue that I still give way too much! But it is all about baby steps, so I would challenge you to start somewhere too. Here is an example….
A few weeks ago I started to play the piano again. It has been years since I have played piano but often times I told myself I wanted to. However, I let work and other obligations that I constantly said yes to to get in the way of doing what I wanted to do, literally for the past few years. So in order to practice saying no, I took time one day to sit down at my keyboard and start playing. I told myself to just give it 20 minutes of my day and take a break from other obligations I prioritized. I ended up spending hours playing the piano that day, and I haven’t stopped since. It was then that I realized that other obligations were not as important as me enjoying myself that day.
Before that day I would have said I was too busy, that I didn’t have enough time. But now, I miraculously have found time for music again, and it’s because I make the time. I prioritize the time. I value the time…My time. And you know what else? It has made me so happy! Music is a great release for me, it’s a great distraction, and it’s something I am passionate about. I had completely forgotten how it made me feel to play and sing.
We should never give up the things we love. Make time for them by saying no, you Yes Person you!
Last question: How many times have you taken on an extra shift at work, or spent time helping a friend move that it didn’t negatively affect you in some way? Now, I am not saying to never do those things because we all enjoy being good people and helping out now and again. But it is important to remember that by taking on too many of these things, we are not the only one who suffers. Those around us suffer too…..
Typically, we become too exhausted at work to give clients, customers, and patients our upmost respect and attention. Typically, we become so burnt out that spending time doing the things we love fall to the side which affects our mental health and happiness. How can we be providing the best service to those we work with and be good friends if we are always tired and suffering? We take on extra things trying to be helpful, but with time it actually is a disservice to everybody around us because we are not our best, genuine selves.
So again, I challenge you to take baby steps…. Say no to that extra shift, and say yes to spending that time spoiling yourself. Even if it’s ten minutes a day, start somewhere. Devote this time to an old hobby, or something new you want to learn or try. Those ten minutes can even be ten minutes of quiet time by yourself. You name it, you can do it when you practice saying no. You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no!
~ No is a complete sentence, it does not require justification or explanation.