When we keep saying yes to things because we want people to like us

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Just say yes.

Open yourself to every damn opportunity you can. Try everything.

We’re conditioned to believe that this right here is the key – that we can find all our answers in life if we just say YES YES 100 TIMES YES to every opp, person and thing that comes our way. If we just gave everything a shot, we’d find what we were looking for. We’d be more interesting; liberated and empowered. We’d be better.

“Willing to try anything once”, our Tinder bio reads, thinking that makes us look cool and carefree and daring.

And sure, I dig this approach. I’m all for trying shit; for stepping out of our comfort zone and crossing a boundary or two. For putting ourselves in situations we never thought we’d be in & leaping towards the unknown. I’m all for saying yes.

Sometimes.

Because when I think about it, the most liberating times(s) of my life have actually not been the moments I’ve hollered an almighty YES, but the moments I learned to say NO. To every opportunity, person and thing I wanted to say no to.

It took me a long time to learn to say no. I mean, I’m still learning how to say no. I still exist in this overwhelming mindset of wanting to please everyone; of wanting to do the ‘right thing’ according to the population at large. I want people to agree with me. I want them to like me. So how do you achieve this? You say yes.

YES that time works to meet for a drink, you’ll make it work!! Yes you’re down to go out because how boring would you be if you weren’t? Yes you’ll do this and yes you’ll try that and yes you’ll absolutely participate in the neighbourhood plant exchange because what a great opportunity to meet new people and develop a new interest! Yes yes mother fucking YES.

Because for whatever reason the world has made us feel like we are BAD PEOPLE if we want to say no. If we want to say no to that dinner invite and stay in with our sweats and takeout instead. Turn down a date? Tsk tsk sista, someone’s not giving it a chance. If we don’t want that new role even though it would absoluuuutely be good for our career? What a waste. You’ve gotta live bigger, dude. Just say YES – embrace these opportunities life has flung at you!

We’ve come to exist within this society that makes us feel like we need to do as much as we physically can in order to be as happy as possible – so when we want to say no, we (I?) feel like perhaps we’re doing ourselves (myself?) a disservice. WHAT IF I JUST PASSED UP A LIFE CHANGING OPPORTUNITY? What if we could have been more happy?

But fuck man, this is an exhausting way to live. It’s so, so stressful to constantly be wondering if we could be more – be doing more. Feeling more. Living more happily. 

And no, I don’t think we should all become lazy, negative pieces of shit. I absolutely believe we should still try things. Step out of our comfort zones. Cross a boundary or two. But I DO think we should allow ourselves to actually invest our time and ourselves into the things we want to invest them into. I DO think we’re allowed to know what makes us happy and let ourselves prioritize whatever that happens to be.  I don’t think we should feel guilty for recognizing what we don’t want.

I always feel guilty for not wanting things.

Because I want to please everyone.

And I want them to like me.

And I want them to think I’ve done enough.

So, I simply keep saying yes.

But like, it’s okay man. It’s freeing, really, to let yourself not only follow your own damn heart, but be okay with doing so.  

AND SO – in the spirit of the season, my New Year’s resolutions this year are to:

1 – Invest in a pair of nice, grown up gloves because my current wool mittens make me feel like a baby, and

2 – Stop saying yes to the things I’m simply agreeing to out of guilt, and let myself start saying no (thank you). Because like, even though we’re saying no we should def still have manners.

Merry Christmas & Happy No Year, babayy!

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Petey Boy says:

    Great article. I am almost as old as Yoda, and still ‘no’ is not easy. I think we sometimes feel we are letting someone down if we say ‘no’, and for whatever reason that is worse than letting ourselves down by saying ‘yes’ when we really didn’t want to. We are a messed up tribe.

  2. E.T. says:

    I totally agree that it can be very guilt inducing to look into someone’s
    questioning eyes and say ‘no thanks, I don’t think so’ BUT once you know
    you CAN do it and survive, it is a powerful force and a wonderful way
    to establish healthy boundaries. Amen to this great article!

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