With Love and Gratitude

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3 Tips and "No" to Be Free of the 10 Table Pounding Whys

Tips on how to overcome saying "Yes" when we really mean "No."

Sail free!
In the course of a day too many of us say “Yes” when we really mean “No.” There are perhaps two reasons that we do this. First, we rationalize the behavior saying, “It’s just easier to go along.” But second, we distrust our own instincts. If we rationalize and distrust we create a state of anxiety within ourselves.

When Malcolm Gladwell wrote Blink, he said it was about “the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions.”  blink - Malcolm Gladwell

Whenever we say “Yes,” when we mean “No” oftentimes it is because something inside of us has already reached the conclusion that things are not going to end well. But because we were raised to be pleasers, we compromise ourselves.

Here are some examples.

1.You plan to spend the night at home. A friend calls and talks you into going to a movie you really didn’t want to see. You go anyway because your women friends had been telling you to give the relationship a try. It was a nightmare. The next day you find yourself walking in circles annoyed with yourself because you did not trust your instincts, which said, “Stay at home.”

2.You’ve been in a “friends with benefits relationship,” but recently you have been thinking that he is getting all the benefits because he isn’t treating you like a friend. You want to tell him it’s over, but you don’t. He spends the night and the next morning you hate yourself.

3.You meet a new man who asks you to lunch. He tells you the sad tale of how he and his longtime girlfriend split. You are immediately suspicious and you can’t put your finger on why. The following week-end he wines and dines you and you ask the question. Did you and your girlfriend live together? He stumbles over the words, “She’s moved out,”  but fails to tell you that she just spent the night at her mother’s because they had a fight.

4.Your best friend asks if she can borrow money. The last time she took forever to pay you and you have a funny feeling inside about this time. But you loan her the money nonetheless. Two months later, she still hasn’t repaid you and then announces she is going to Aruba. 

5.Friends who too often drop by unannounced call and say, “What are you up to?” You know you should say, “I’m busy.” Instead you say, “Nothing much.”  And you have essentially opened the door for them to take over your evening.

But sometimes we create our own dilemmas.

6.Why did I spend so much? I really didn’t have the money.

7.Why did I pick up the phone? I was already running late.

8.Why did I agree to stay longer than I planned? I didn’t want to go in the first place.

9.Why did I tell my boss, “No problem?” It’s a big problem and I am going to have to handle it.

10.Why did I share that secret? I know I can’t really trust her.

Women have a terrific sixth sense that can be cultivated to make decisions in order to please themselves instead of others. Making decisions in your own best interest can boost your self-esteem as you take back your power.

3 tips to take back your power

Tip One: Whenever you find yourself pounding a table asking: “Why? Why? Why? did I say ‘Yes’ when I really meant ‘No,’ ” write it down. Keep a list called My Table Pounding Whys and post it next to your phone, on your fridge , or on your bathroom mirror!

Tip Two: Learn to like the sound of “No," while you practice saying, “I really need to get back to you,” when pressed for an answer. Take a few precious moments to think about what you really want to be doing and respond in a way that honestly reflects your feelings.

Tip Three: Blink. If for one second, you are in doubt – then don’t. Refuse to succumb to the fear that says, “What if I am making a mistake?”  Or, "I wonder if he or she will be mad if I can't do what they are asking?"

Essentially it is important to be grateful for yourself and even the mistakes you make. Treat each one as a learning experience — stepping stones to eventual success.

[Sails abstract, Yale Digital Commons]

Copyright 2012 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

Follow Rita Watson on Twitter @ LoveColumnist

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Rita Watson, MPH, is an Associate Fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College and a columnist for The Providence Journal.


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