There are so many things I’d prefer not do. Yet when someone asks me to help at a function or do something that seems “the right thing to do” I fall head first into that pool of discomfort.
I can hear many people saying, “Yes, that’s me. She’s got me pegged.”
Why do we do this to ourselves?
I’m not pointing fingers, I suffer from this and I know others that ride in this boat with me. We are people pleasers. We have learned since childhood that if we do the right thing we will be liked or rewarded, etc.
We are afraid to say no. We have learned from experience or since childhood that a negative response brings negative repercussions. They may be verbal, physical, a withholding of career related rewards, etc. By not saying no, we sell ourselves out. We paste a target on our backs for the next scenario. We feel a mess, we’ve created a mess and we want out.
What are the consequences of NOT saying no?
Overcommitment, frazzled nerves, less personal time, less time for loved ones and strained relationships will all take their toll on us.
As a result, we end up becoming pressure cookers, very unhappy and discontent. It’s quite possible that our health could be negatively affected. Putting myself through this could possibly trigger a mood cycle – most likely depression. Every time we say yes and accept another task, we are cutting into the overall time we have to fulfill all of our responsibilities. Doing something well usually requires our full attention. When we are strapped for time, it is easy to lose focus and we can miss the small details. The quality of our work and our relationships usually suffer and our goal to impress in some way backfires.
How do we stop?
The only way to stop the constant cycle of being overwhelmed it to take a self-assessment and determine who and what we value most in life. Once we have determined that, we can measure everything we are asked to do against that backdrop.
For me, before I can commit to anything outside of my normal routine, I ask the following questions and perhaps they can act as a guideline for you: How much time will it take away from my family or loved ones and how will that impact the quality of our relationships. Will it impact the time I spend in doing my regular job and will the quality of my work suffer as a result? Will I be stressing over the deadline, the volume of work, the people I must deal with or any other issue relating to this task? If so, is it worth the possible impact on my health and my good nature? And, most important of all, is it in line with my beliefs, which for me is the Bible and for you may be something different? If I must answer negatively to any one of them then I already know how to answer whoever is requesting that I take on a task: “No.