The hardest word for me to say.

Last week a friend of mine asked me for a favor, and I said “No.”  Then I immediately went into convulsions because my body was in complete shock from having uttered such a foreign word.

I’m kidding about the convulsions.  (Sort of.)  As you might have inferred, I don’t like saying “No” to people.  I’d so much rather say “Yes.”

I admit to being a people pleaser, I am far more comfortable when everybody else is happy.  And from 38 years of experience I can assure you that people are more pleased and happy when you tell them “Sure, I can watch your kids and/or dog for a couple of hours.  Or a couple of days.  Whatever, no biggie,”  than when you say, “Sorry, I’m booked.”

It’s not that I’m secretly trying to win people’s affection by doing things for them.  It’s just that…..well…..I’m secretly trying to win people’s affection by doing things for them.  <Hangs head in shame.>

Here’s another confession:  I like being the person who saves the day for other people.  It makes me feel powerful and in control, kind of like how Oprah must feel.  My whole house can be falling apart, my children crying, my husband disgruntled, but if I am helping someone out in the midst of all this chaos?  Then strangely, I feel like a success.

You see, when you are doing something for someone else you don’t feel like you are the one hanging at the end of your rope, needing to be rescued.  My mantra has always been that it was much better to be the helper than the person who needs the help.

As you can see, all of my unselfish acts of service carry within them a small seed of selfishness.

It’s only been recently that I’ve realized these hidden truths about myself.  (We lie best when we lie to ourselves, and I’m a pretty good liar.)  Additionally, I have come to realize that I can’t keep continuing down this path of helping everybody else except for myself and my own family.

I need to say “No” more often.  I need to put my family first.  I need to admit I can’t do it all and then some.  I need to remember that the people who are really matter won’t stop being my friend when I can’t do something for them.  Most of all, I need to remind myself that I can be a good, kind person and still have limits.

And until I fully learn this lesson I’m probably going to have to stop answering the phone.

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5 Responses to The hardest word for me to say.

  1. K Harker says:

    You are a good trustworthy person Ami, that’s why people feel comfortable coming to you for help! That being said, you are right! You need to set limits and those who love you will love you whether or not you can help them out every time. Congrats on your first “no” good luck with, hopefully more to come. P.S. when you helped me and watched my kids while we were moving, I was so grateful! My son loved being around Will, it was like the best day of his life 🙂 You are such a sweet heart. Do the right thing, whether it’s for you or for someone else you’ll know when it’s right to say yes and when it’s okay to say no.

  2. You can do it! Having said no the first time is quite enabling! It might come as a shock to people but they’ll get the idea. I am the same way, I like to please people. Those people started taking advantage of me and really pushed the limits so I finally decided it was time to say no. The first person I said no to was shocked. She was persistent in asking and I continued to say no. I didn’t always say no to other requests, but I didn’t feel so abused after that! Luckily the Lord doesn’t expect us to do everything today. We can serve and love and still put our family first when needed. Keep up the good work! You’re amazing!

  3. This should be hung on people’s refrigerators.

  4. Lisa says:

    Something I am trying to work on myself. I usually think it is so hard to say no, but afterward I am really glad I did!

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