I have a “yes” policy. That is, I say “yes” most of the time. My husband says that’s not true. But I say that’s not true…I really do have a “yes” policy, and I like to remind him of that when I’ve just said “yes” to a request from him.
I am a person who enjoys pleasing others. It makes me feel good, and although I think I have plenty of self-confidence, there’s probably some need deep inside to encourage others to like me by saying “yes” as often as possible.
But I’ve begun to give myself permission to say “no.” It is very empowering. I don’t even say “no” so much to other people. But I am learning to turn down commitments that steal my time away from my real priorities or from commitments I’ve already made. Saying “no” can be as simple as not taking on a new chore or project when my to do list is already longer than time will allow me to complete. It is recognizing that saying “yes” to some things is in reality saying “no” to others. And usually when that happens, I find that I have sacrificed some personal plan or desire for something that was not as important to me…but it was a request from someone else. That doesn’t mean that I want to be self-centered or to always put my wishes first. But I am learning (better late than never!) that a “yes” policy can be detrimental to me, to relationships, to my sense of what is important. I’m learning that saying “yes” is not always the right thing, just because I am making someone else happy with that answer. I am learning to have a “no” policy too. And that’s a good thing. Better late than never!