Why is it so hard for women to say no. I have spent most of my life unable to say no. Even when I wanted so desperately to say no. Even when it went against my best interest to say no. Even when I was terribly inconvenienced. I would grit my teeth, say yes, and then be mad as you know what.
I remember when my second husband asked me to marry him. I wanted to say no, I meant to say no, but he had the ring and he looked so
p athetic hopeful. I mean I couldn't hurt his feelings, could I? Don't get me wrong, I have two incredible daughters and three amazing grandchildren so I wouldn't trade that for anything, and I mean anything, but what made me put his interests above my own well being. I have spent the past forty years paying for my inability to say no to him.
It wasn't just big things that I couldn't say no to. It was also small everyday things. It was as if I had a sign taped to my back that said ASK LAURA SHE CAN"T SAY NO. I have gotten up out of my sick bed and run to the store because someone needed something and apparently I was the only one capable of getting it. I have walked to a store in a blizzard, with bad knees, uphill both ways (okay, slight exaggeration) because no one else could get the milk. I have stood in front of a crowd of people at a podium, leading a conference even though I was quaking in my shoes and didn't want to do it. I have.......well I'm sure you get the picture.
I have recently, after only 63 years, learned to say no. My mom told me a few days ago that my brother, who we haven't seen in five years, has decided to come for Thanksgiving and cook our dinner. Isn't that wonderful she said. I told him you would clean up the kitchen after the meal. NO, NO, NO!!!!! Two years ago I turned in my Thanksgiving kitchen duties. I'm done. I either eat out at a fancy restaurant or I eat a cheese sandwich. I'll be happy to give him a big hug at the restaurant.
Today, my sister asked if I would drive her to the grocery because she didn't feel like driving. Okay, I said, because I could pick up a couple of things for myself. When it was time to go she showed up at my bedroom door, credit card in hand, and said she didn't feel like going so could I just pick up her things as I was already dressed with my makeup on. (we have been down this same road so many times I've lost track) NO, NO, NO!!!
It hasn't been easy making the transition from yes to no, but it gets easier each time I do it. It doesn't mean I won't do anything for people, but it does mean I won't allow myself to be taken advantage of, and that seems like a pretty good thing to me.
Are you good at saying no? I would love to hear how you deal with unwanted requests. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let's chat.