Growing up, I was afraid of saying No.
If I said No – I was being rude.
If I said No – I was defying the “expectations” that my parents and other adults had of me.
If I said No – there was something wrong with me.
I went to church.
I volunteered – running youth groups, choirs, raffles / fundraising activities, helping build rock walls out at the local monastery, staying back after school – helping to organise and run events.
But … here is the kicker. I was miserable.
I didn’t know who I really was.
I didn’t have the time to try out new things, experiment and discover who and what it was that I really liked.
I was scared.
At first – I thought I was scared of the “others” – getting told off by my parents, or scared of being judged by others – the fact was – I was scared about what I would find out about myself.
In my thirties – I began to really start saying No to things that I didn’t like, didn’t agree with or simply did not want to do.
I began to work out who I was.
It was an awful process at times, and yes, there were times that I hated myself – mainly due to the fact that I felt “lost”, uncertain and had not yet defined who I was. I was in that chasm between letting go and “growing”. There was a huge gap yet to fill.
I still hate saying no – some of the old feelings of guilt arise at times – yet I can do so with much more certainty now – knowing what to say No to – given that I am very clear on my values, my vision and who I am.
I am not scared of saying No anymore.
There is nothing wrong with me saying No.
I am a unique individual, full of life & dreams – and I have the right to refuse to take part in things that do not fit with that.
What about you?