The “N” Word

I thought I would write about the “N” word today because I have asked myself numerous times over that past couple of weeks why I can’t use that word.  Using it would make my life so much easier, but I just can’t make myself do it. It is almost like it is not a part of my vocabulary sometimes. I guess maybe I think it in my head, but I just can’t make it come out of my mouth. Have you figured out what word I am referring to yet? It is the dreaded word “NO.” I CANNOT SAY NO!  Hold on…let me back track for a second.  I actually can say the word to my children (although sometimes even that is hard). I just can’t say it when it comes to someone else asking me to do something or wanting something from me.  It has been this way my entire life, and people have taken advantage of me more times than I can count because they know I won’t say no. It is like people think, “Hey, let’s ask her because she won’t turn us down.” It is a known fact that not only will I say yes, but I will also give it everything I’ve got. I don’t half do anything.  If I say yes (and I will), I will do it to the very best of my ability. No matter what other things I have going on in my life, I will always add one more for the simple reason that I can’t say no.  I feel like that is a huge part of why I am no longer teaching.  When administrators asked me to take on more students (even though it was illegal), I said ok. When extra duties were added to my already full plate, I said ok. When I was asked to be a model classroom for other teachers and my classroom became a revolving door (to the detriment of my students), I said yes. It became too much and I got burned out.

I seem to have no problem saying ok or yes, so why is it so hard to say no?  Here are the reasons I think I, and maybe others, have the inability to say no. 

1. I don’t want to let anyone down. 

I think this is a huge part of why I cannot say no.  I don’t want to disappoint people.  I want people to know that they can count on me to come through.  I don’t want anyone to think less of me.  I don’t want to feel rejected because I said no. 

2. I feel guilty.

If I say no, I feel guilty about it.  I tend to overthink it so much that I will often go back and say yes.  This one kind of ties in to not wanting to let anyone down. It makes me feel like I have failed whoever it is that asked.

3. I have a false belief in what I can handle. 

I think that it won’t be that big of a deal and that I can do it all with no problems. It is like when you fill your plate full of food and it is way more than you can eat.  You say, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach.” I feel like my heart is way bigger than my brain and my body can physically handle. My desire to please others is bigger than what I can actually do.

4. I have a need to be in control.

My Type A, OCD personality means that I like to be in control of things.  I have to have my hand in it so that I know what is going on, and I can make sure things are done right.     

Not being able to say no means that I get overwhelmed.  I get frustrated.  I become physically and mentally exhausted.  It is something that I deal with all the time. It is an endless cycle.  If I could just say no, I wouldn’t have those feelings of stress all the time. I wouldn’t overcommit myself. I know that.  I know that things would be easier, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. It is definitely a character flaw that needs a lot of work. I have friends that are great at saying no. They know what they can handle, and they will not take on more than that.  I am so envious of them. I feel like they have their priorities better aligned than I do. Not being able to say no tends to put things/people that I really care about on the back burner.  I wish I could stand up for myself and tell people no.  I wish I could prioritize better.  

Here are some reasons why I need to learn to say no.

* It frees up my time.
* My stress and anxiety levels would go way down. I could breathe. 
* It keeps me focused on the important things in my life. My priorities get the most attention instead of getting pushed to the back burner.
* Saying no gives you a sense of empowerment. I am in charge of me.
* It gives others the opportunity to step up and say yes.  It doesn’t always have to be me.  Someone else can have a turn.  
* It gives me the chance to say yes to other things that can lead to bigger and better opportunities. 

Saying no is something that I will likely continue to work on for the rest of my life.  I have to build up the courage.  It is so hard, but I know it will make me a much healthier and more balanced person.


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