Don’t Be A Victim. Learn When And How To Say Yes Or No.



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“Yes and No. If you can use these two words appropriately, you have mastered life.”
~Sukant Ratnakar

Sometimes it’s hard to say No…even when you want to. Some people only learn to say Yes, and they end up in situations they don’t want. Then there are those who say No most of the time and deprive themselves of involvement with others. Two extremes, and neither a winner. Both put themselves in the victim role and miss out on a life of authentic self-expression.

“By saying yes when you need to say no, you cripple the most important relationship in your life: the relationship between you and you.”  ~Nea Joy

Too much Yes: Discomfort saying No denotes fear of something–fear of offending others; fear of criticism; fear of not being accepted, even loved; etc. This fear can create a people-pleasing personality to avoid any sense of rejection, and it can rob you of functioning as your authentic self. You live in a self-imposed prison, pleasing others, where your own thoughts, feelings and actions are deprived of expression.

It took me a long time to learn that it’s okay to say No. As a child, I was taught to be agreeable with “Yes, ma’am”, no matter how I felt. I was afraid to express my true feelings, and I couldn’t be me. Now when I read some of the poems I wrote, I feel the anger and sadness I felt then. Old habits are hard to break, but after years of repressing my feelings, I began practicing No sometimes, and it felt really good. I’m still not cured 100%, but I’m much more comfortable in my own skin, and there’s still time.

“If you always say no, you’ll never say yes.”  ~Ryan Higa

Too much No: Saying No most of the time also denotes fear of something–fear of making a mistake; fear of being used, hurt, or taken advantage of; fear of losing the safety net you build around yourself; etc. And fear can create a distant personality where you feel safe in your own world. You may feel safe, but by saying No too often you also live in a self-imposed prison that deprives you of feeling close and connected to others.

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Our life dreams tell much about how we see ourselves and the kind of life we want. Some are lofty and grand. Others appear small and insignificant, but every bit as important. You may dream of expressing your authentic self without mental and emotional hang ups holding you back. Reaching your dreams depends a lot on the wise use of those magic words, Yes and No, and decisions you make today shape each tomorrow. So even small decisions are worth your careful attention. And the better you know yourself, the better you’ll handle daily situations.

Knowing yourself: You may be surprised if you stop and ask yourself what kind of Yes and No person you are. Is there any discomfort with either of those words? Do you fear making a wrong decision? Imagine yourself answering Yes or No in a difficult situation, and notice if there’s any fear inside. Think of past situations. Was there any discomfort then, and if so, what were you afraid of?

There are times we need to be reminded of the truth about ourselves. Do you know that you’re special? You’re unique, valuable, and important. And your life matters. So when making choices, you don’t need anyone’s approval. And if you hear in your head any negative childhood messages to the contrary, confront them, deny them, affirm who you are, and choose your own Yes or No with confidence.

When making a decision: First gather needed information when you can, Then, depending upon the situation, there are several ways to answer. You can say a flat Yes or No, or leave the issue open with statements such as, “I don’t know. I’ll have to search further on that,” or “Maybe…I’ll let you know later,” etc. You’re in total charge of what you want and don’t want. So don’t give away your right. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll goof up, you’ll feel awkward. And that’s okay. You’ll win more than you lose. And even with your mistakes you can have your dreams and never be a victim of fear again.

I wish you dreams fulfilled instead of fear.

Marilyn Fowler, Author & Writer

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