There are two types of people in the world – those who say “no” and those who say “yes” as a matter of upbringing, personality, habit, or need for acceptance.
Stereotypically, the people who say “yes” are women who were raised to go with the flow, be service-oriented, don’t rock the boat, and the best one – take care of others before you take care of yourself. Many of us learned and believed that the latter was our lot in life playing a support role to the world.
One of the most powerful self-care words in the English language is the word “no” (even when your first inclination is to still say “yes”) because it allows one the space to consider our own wants and needs first (which is the way it always should have been) before accepting the needs of another to override. Much of my adult life has been spent saying yes: yes to children, yes to a spouse, yes to volunteer roles, yes to school, yes to friends, yes to everyone – and, no to myself.
In some ways, it is dishonest (and poor communication) to say yes, when no is what we really need to say (to survive!)
Finally, having read enough survival guides, I realize that “no” is a critical survival technique that should be taught to girls (especially!) and boys everywhere – we only have one life and one person (me) who will take the care to make sure our needs are actually met. Everyone else wants to make sure their needs are met first!
But for every opinion, there is someone who dissents…
It comes as no surprise that the number of opinions in society at least equals the number of blogs online (gazillions!), but today’s post from a blog I read weekly took me aback. You can read it yourself by clicking on the image below:
WOW – how completely opposite!!! (But not surprising when you consider the writer is male.)
When you read the outlined paragraph, it falls along the lines of how I believe that my generation (end of the boomers) in North Americans are raised: boys were raised to take care of themselves, and girls were raised to take care of – well – everyone (except themselves).
In other words females are raised to put others first (in John’s blurb above: “What’s in it FROM me”) to our detriment. As a habit, putting others first without consideration of how it will affect one’s own (mental, physical or emotional) health is sheer suicide! As a matter of survival, saying “no” more often allows us to be 1. Honest with what we can or cannot do; and 2. survivors by saying (finally!) “what’s in it FOR me.”
Having grown up with three brothers, I also saw that the natural tendency was for boys to be raised with the right survival mechanism – in boy scouts the mantra was “be PREPARED” or in other words, take care of yourself first (what’s in it FOR me.)
Why is there gender inequality? Who knows? But the best way forward is for everyone (regardless of gender) to take care of their own needs first (see Put on your Own Mask first) so that NO is an option, and not rotely saying YES and regretting it.
What do you think?
- The Power of Saying No
- 7 Simple Ways to Say No
- How to Say No to People – Three Simple Ways
- Stress Relief: How and when to say No (Mayo Clinic)
I “no” you’ll find a way to have a good week!