On this blog, I discuss my journey towards self-acceptance and high self-esteem. One of the quickest way to gauge self-esteem is to rate self-respect. An indicator of self-respect is one’s ability to say “no” when needed. It’s only the 16th day of the new year, but it seems as though 2014 will teach me how to say that two-letter word.
For a people pleaser like me, the consequences of telling someone “no” is something I fear. What if the person rescinds their friendship? What if I am no longer perceived as a “nice” girl? Or, better yet, what if I feel guilty afterwards.
At first thought, these fears appear valid. No one wants to be perceived as a jerk. I want to have as many friends as possible, and guilt is a companion that no one wants to live with. But what I have failed to realize until now is that saying “yes” to every request will only make me unhappy, bitter, and a doormat. Thinking of it this way makes saying “no” more appealing.
Recently, I had a friend ask for my hand in purchasing an item online. Her credit card did not allow her to make such transactions, but if she forwarded the monies to me, then I could purchase it with my own credit card. I did not want to do it. Money and friends do not mix and I felt like the amount of research required to make the purchase was more than I wanted to bear.
But I agreed to do it anyway.
I made the transactions for her, but as fate would have it, there was an error in processing the transaction. I had to follow-up by making phone calls and sending e-mails to the company on her behalf to assess the issue. Meanwhile, she was at home waiting for her item, oblivious to the troubles I had encountered to make an online purchase.
The task, which was originally done out of pure friendship and the desire to help, ended up making me feel resentful. Initially, I directed my anger towards her, but later, I realized that the only person I should be upset with is myself, for why did I agree to do this in the first place?
The situation helped me wake up and smell the coffee: doing favors for others should be done out of a pure heart. If I am bitter and resentful after doing someone a favor, what good is it to me or my friend? Not to mention the stress and hassles I would have saved if I had just said “no.” In the future, if I don’t want to do it, then saying “no” will be my only option. It’s better say, “I’m sorry; I’m busy” instead of getting angry at someone for something that is entirely my fault.
Whenever you say “yes” to someone, make sure you’re not saying “no” to yourself.
– Paulo Coehlo