Why Is It So Hard To Say No?

I hate to say the word no. I want to be liked and be known as a people-pleaser. I hate conflict and that tingling sense of feeling uncomfortable in the presence of another person that I have hurt. I want to show how much I care by bending over backwards for someone else’s timeline, lowering my prices and expectations, allowing my borders and boundaries to be trampled upon, and pimping my sanity out to the person willing to pay the lowest price because I am addicted to being nice.

Somewhere along my life’s journey, I was taught by the actions of others that saying no was a bad thing, selfish and hurtful to others. These feelings were reinforced over the years by the pontifications of self-important people, knowing what they were saying, but not realizing the impact their words would have on the malleable minds of the addicted. I would become addicted to not only being nice, but the fear that if I chose to say no, I would instantly become a bad person, not trusted or liked.

But the interesting thing happened as I confessed my sin, my addiction, of being a nice guy, a people-pleaser, a double-minded sap: I witnessed that I was being selfish, narcissistic, and hurtful to others.

Selfishness reminds me of quick sand. It looks stable until you step into it and sink, eventually drowning because you can’t get out. By not saying no, I think I am being considerate to others, but the reality is that I will end up feeling bitter and angry. Bitter at others for guilting me into saying no and anger with myself for not having the balls to say no.

There is nothing more selfish than blaming others for my inability to say no. Equally, selfishness is thinking that someone won’t like me because I said no. Most people only think of themselves and their needs, so if I make my decisions thinking that others are thinking about me and my needs, over their own, I’m not only selfish, I’m narcissistic, and a fool.

I’m still learning how to say no. I am doing okay when it comes to relationships that are still young, have no history, and the boundaries have yet to be defined. However, the relationships that have been years in the making, built upon old boundaries and borders that were delusional and hurtful to myself and others, are the hardest to change. Assumptions need to be questioned. I must fight the urge to revert to old stereotypes of myself. I must be willing to say, “My name is Chris. I am addicted to being nice. I want to help you, but I am not able to.”

Nothing is more honest than to admit that I cannot help you. I really want to, but if I keep saying yes, when no would be better, then I will only hurt us both.

2 replies on “Why Is It So Hard To Say No?”

Excellent stuff. I’m struggling with this issue as well right now. Reading this inspires me though. Thanks

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