I don’t like upsetting people. And that is my big problem.
Often in the past, I would get involved in a relationship simply because I would feel sorry for someone who was genuinely interested in me, and I didn’t want to hurt them. So I would say “yes” and hurt them even more eventually by breaking up with them not long after.
It made me so angry – this inability to say “no”. Why can’t I say no to someone who wants to copy my homework? Why can’t I say no to someone who is asking to borrow money? Why can’t I say “no” to plans that have nothing to do with my own plans and goals? Because I was not taught to say “no”.
“Anastasia, you must be good. You must help people around you and respect their feelings,” and somehow that phrase translated in my head into “Anastasia, you cannot upset people, and if saying “no” means upsetting them, then you shouldn’t be saying no too often.” And so I didn’t. And that made me angry.
When I was a teacher, I tried to teach my students, no matter what subject I was teaching, the importance of saying “no”. As I learnt myself, saying “no” doesn’t have to be offensive. It doesn’t have to be rude. It is not about the other person. It is about you feeling uncomfortable doing something for them. It is about establishing your own boundaries and limits and simply informing others about them. It is about a healthier you and healthier relationships with those around you.
Most probably, people will get upset, especially if all they ever heard from you was “yes”. But you know what, they will get used to it. They will understand that if they want to be your friend/partner/co-worker and even parent, they will have to accept that there are certain things that you will say “no” to. And that’s ok.
Really, it is such a liberating experience to gather your courage and in a very respectful and caring way to say “no”.