“Mind if I borrow that brand new shirt? The one with the tags still on it?”
“When you babysit next week, is it O.K. if I just add a few more to do’s to your list?”
“Oh that looks delicious! Can I have that last bite of your long awaited lunch?”
Record Scratch, “No!”
This is the imagined trigger response as your eyebrows furrow, sweat beads roll, arms raise to the sky, shoulders shrug, lips curl and quiver, and your head slowly sides left to right nodding no.
Instead, the words you most resist start to form and explode from your mouth muttering, “Uh, well, I mean, hmmm. Well, I just… uh, mayyyybeee. O.K… I don’t… well…O.K. I guess, sure.” A three minute response to a two letter word you wish you had said instead.
Ever notice that when you say no it feels super awkward and sounds super loud? Even if you are just thinking it? Can Matt, who sit’s next to you in math class, hear you think it? Can Suzanne hear it when you are sitting next to her in the car on the way to school?
Why is it louder when we think it? Because your truth is calling out the importance to claim it, not hide behind it.
I have a cousin that is very popular. Seems many people know her or have characteristics very similar to her. Her name is Penelope People Pleaser. Have you ever heard of her? I know her WELL… and she always makes an appearance in situations where I feel afraid, tentative, confused, or timid. She interrupts, offers her hand, and will do whatever it takes whether it’s possible or impossible.
It’s a natural tendency to want to help others and I am the biggest advocate of it. But we must help others while creating healthy boundaries and they will be more beneficial to others and to yourself.
I never knew that saying “No” could be empowering. I mean, “just say no”, is one of the best campaigns out there… but in my own personal life, I never knew how to say no to things. It was hard for me to even say no to small favors being asked, errands to run, or plans I didn’t want to go along with.
As an adult, “yes and” is a huge plus. Saying yes to your life, adds, encourages, and welcomes forward movement. “No” freezes movement before anything starts but knowing your limitation is positive in a healthy context.
So let me ask you… When was the last time you respectfully said no?
Let’s try an experiment. Below are a few questions.
“Hey, I know you just got your allowance but can I have it?”
“Mind if I borrow that new dress you just got and haven’t worn yet?”
“Can you do my chores this week?”
“How bout we ditch class and blow off that midterm?”
Even though we can be tempted to answer, “Sure why not!”, there may be risks, consequences, and a disconnect between what your gut and heart say and what your head and mouth end up saying.
So what happens when you ignore the no? You will internalize turmoil in a way you may not suspect and receive a long visit from Resentment Rebecca who will surely stick around for awhile and have on-going confrontations with Penelope People Pleaser.
So, take it from me as an older “teen” in my forties. The best advice comes from Tabitha Truth Teller… a permanent roommate who lives inside us all.
Creating healthy boundaries means that it’s O.K. to say yes to saying no sometimes. Those times that you want to decline an invitation or provide a favor but were too afraid to say no keeps you from listening and trusting your own truth and growth.
Sometimes just saying “no” means you are in the know.
5 results to truth telling:
1. Butterflies will settle
2. Lips curl to a smile
3. Eye contact remains
4. Calmness continues
5. Please with ease
About the Author: Susanna SPIES is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a seasoned educator and Founder and President of Comedy Playground, LLC, showcasing at The Hollywood Improv located in California. With a performance background, Spies has worked within mediums of television and film, and has performed stand up comedy on stages throughout the nation. Known for her many “faces”, in 2013 she debuted over 30 characters in her one-woman show “The Dryer” and was featured on Nuvo TV’s Stand & Deliver, E-One Entertainment’s Uncontrolled Comedy, and the Youtube sensation “Carol” of “Carol & Claire in The Angela Hoover web series, as well as dozens of national commercials, and Independent Feature Films. Read More…