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Senior Contributor

"No." is a complete sentence.

How good are you at saying "No."?  At 53 years old I am finally working on putting my own needs and wants further up the priority list but I still have a hard time saying "No" and I end up doing things I don't really want to do.  Then I feel a bit resentful.  If I say no then I feel a bit guilty. 

 

Are we women just hard wired to try to please everyone and put everyone else's needs ahead of our own?  Is it a natural offshoot of being a mother where you just had to take care of everything and everybody so it becomes ingrained?  Why is it that men have no trouble avoiding a task or a family function or a volunteer request?  Or simply saying "No, I can't do that or I don't want to do that."?  Then they just go on their merry way without feeling guilty or giving it a second thought?

 

I thought I was pretty evolved in this area, especially in my professional life but at home with family and friends I still have a hard time saying no to things that are not convenient or that I just can't fit into my schedule.  

 

Case in point....This afternoon we were expected at a birthday party for an elderly relative followed by Mass, then a church dinner and dance with DD and her husband and in-laws.  I balied out on Ed for the birthday party and I feel guilty.  I simply wanted the afternoon to myself.  I never get the house to myself unless he is out of town and I flat out didn't want to go. I needed some "me" time.  Ed didn't seem to mind me not going but I still feel like I should have squeezed one more thing into the weekend.  I can work myself into a guilt trip faster than anyone I know.

 

I spent my *day off* yesterday running errands, picking up DGD at preschool and taking her to childcare, meeting with attorney on farm business, laundry, cooking, some cleaning, bill paying.  Stopped by my office to check on things and to pick up some work for at home.  This morning it was laundry, cleaning, filing and taking care of some phone and internet business.  Tomorrow we have DD and her family coming over for a goodbye dinner before they move. 

 

My rug that I have been trying to find time to hook has been calling me lately and I have been back at it making progress and enjoying it.  I just wanted a couple of hours to work on it in total silence.  Maybe my Nova Era CD on quietly.  Every Sunday night i get what we jokingly call the Sunday NIght Blues as I face another work week and wonder where the past weekend went.

 

Maybe it is all this feminism discussion or maybe I need a peptalk or something on just saying no and moving on without guilt. 

 

Are you able to say no to people when you want to or are you like me and try to fit too much in and rarely put your own needs first?

 

PS I think others are okay when I put myself first it is more that I just feel badly about it...

21 Replies
Advisor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

Dear friend, I can't recall where I read this in the past 24 hours, but I am sure it was meant for me to repeat it to you today: The days are long, but the years are short. 

You give your life away so thoroughly -  and so thoughtlessly in terms of your own needs.  It is totally proper and necessary for you to reserve some moments to allow your self (I did not mean it as "yourself") to just be at peace.  Claiming that time is not selfish. 

Senior Contributor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

Along the same lines as Kay, you can't give 100% to all when you don't give yourself enough. In other words, don't think so little of yourself, since you are just as important as everyone else. It really is not selfish to take time off for yourself. If you don't, you won't have enough to give to everyone you love.

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Advisor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

Dr. Phil has a couple of stock phrases on this situation, and I agree with them both. 

First, he says you cannot genuinely give something to others if you don't possess it yourself. 

The analogy he uses for taking care of yourself first is that of the oxygen mask dropping when the airplane cabin depressurizes.  Parents are told to put on  their own mask first, then help their child.  If you try to do it the other way around, you will pass out and both of you are goners. 

I have gotten so I consciously think now about whether or not I really want to do something I am asked to do before I answer.  As i said above... days are long,but the years are short, and getting shorter. 

I do some things just because they have to be done - taxes this week, for example - but, I am pretty unlikely to make a sacrifice of time anymore unless I think it is a VERY worthwhile expense of my energy. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

Soilbabe, I sure admire you.  When I tell DH "no, I don't want to go.  You go, it's your family or whatever".  He says, "OK, I don't want to go either so we won't".  Of course I cave in because SOMEONE needs to make an appearance. 

You're right.  Men have no conscience about such matters.  Yesterday, my son & family stopped by to show us the new deer head for the wall.  (thank God, not our wall)  Grands had been promised a Wii game by grandpa who was out hauling manure.  We all had to wait.  I know, first things first.  But this made the stay much longer, going into the dinner hour.  DS ran to get groceries while they played so we had to wait for him to get back to pick them up.

Making OUR dinner hour late.  ( I did offer to make them supper)  The other DS got a fever so we were shorthanded for chores making it a very late evening.  All could have been avoided if DH would have stopped for 20 min. to come in.

I don't know why we women think we have to do it all.  Guess because we've been pretty successful at it so often.

Always squeezing in one more thing & leaving nourishment for ourselves out.  Right now I'm really stretched because FIL isn't doing well with rad. & chemo.  So I'm running over there to take food, etc.  I really need to find a hobby like your rug hooking or something that I can take along.  That sewing machine upstairs is a bear to drag out!  LOL  Right now, this site is my fun.

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Honored Advisor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

It may be easier if you have married later on down the road, as soilbabe and her DH have done.  I think people who do that get used to going on their own, maybe while bridging through a divorce, when you get more accustomed to going stag. 

I think it can also have something to do with how well you get along with everyone you may encounter at the event, or at least the principal parties. 

At our house, Mike is not all that sociable, and I tend to default to what he prefers probably more often than I should.  It can be hard to get him just to go to the other end of the farm to our daughter's house some evenings. 

I recognized your needing the twnety-minutes of social interaction, to prevent the dragged-out event into the evening, and then having to work too late.  My family always put work first, and Mike and I drove ourselves like that for ages.  We ahve made a conscious effort to stop and pay attention to the kids when they come by or call now, though. 

I think when you don't, it sends the message to the people you love that they are less important than that load of manure.  We all know to expect harvest, planting, haying, etc., to be busy, and time in those seasons is crucial...but what are we all doing this for, anyway? 

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Senior Contributor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

I am getting real good at it. I use to try and do everything but with my Grandson being having to take chemo, and I know others here have sickness, it really makes you stop and think. I do for my imediate family first, and when I want to take time with DH both my girls understand. They are really the ones that want me and DH to take more time to ourselves and enjoy. It is getting easier to say no to some family, and if they don't like it so be it.

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Advisor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

Shared portions of this discussion with a good, new friend I met in school last semseter.  She and I click on a lot of different levels, although we have some stark differences, too.  I am, in fact, convinced that part of the reason I was put on that path for a while was so we could meet and serve as support system for each other. 

Her main issue is trying to please her mother, an impossible task.  I am a bit further down that road,having made my break with sacrificing my own peace in an attempt to buy approval, after 53 years of misery. 

I think that if you go somewhere because you are "supposed to go," your negative energy can spoil the fun for others.  If you go and have a good time despite yourself, then things will be all right.  I try not to go unless I am at worst neutral about an event. 

Your comment about Blue Sundays leading into Blue Mondays certainly rings a bell.  I can recall crying on my way to work when my first pregnancy's nesting urge kicked in.  All I wanted at that point in time was to make my home a haven for my little family.  I think it's a sensation that I am feeling again quite a bit...to make our home safe, happy and healthy for us. 

Do you think it is that you love being home  hate going to work, or a bit of both???

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Senior Contributor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

I can relate to that BlueMon. when I was teaching dance.  I'd be driving to teach & meet the school buses taking the kids home-where I would not be to meet my kids.  I only taught 2-3 days during the week & all day Sat. mostly because DH worked a swing shift & I felt one of us needed to be there.  My in laws took care of my kids most of the time so at least there was family.   I tried to rearrange classes or simply skip when there was something really important for my boys.  And I didn't teach during the summer which made a Blue Fall!  I can remember that feeling of depression very easily.  I really do miss the kids & parents I got to know, however.

Now, with dairying I don't have much free time for socializing because it seems functions are at the same time but I can get there if I really want to.  Sometimes it's a good excuse.  LOL

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Advisor

Re: "No." is a complete sentence.

I wonder how much the blues drive nd alter our decisions for career and family life.  I was directed into teaching to start with becasue 'it is a good career for a woman with a family...you work when the kids are in shcool,  and have summers off together."  I can still hear my father saying it in my high school counseling appointment.  No one really asked me what I wanted to do. 

When Mike and I got married, his schedule was off in the mid-week, second shift most times.  We rarely had time together when I was working school hours.  We literally met each other in the driveway - going in opposite directions - and it tore me up. 

We finally decided to keep me at home when our son came along, and I have never regretted that decision.  Maybe we would have more money in the bank if I'd stayed in a career, but I truly doubt it.  Most of the guys Mike worked with were divorced, a lot of them more than once.  That job is very disruptive to a family life. 

It is only in the past week or so, since I've started feeling a little bit better, that I realize how much school was taking out of our family life - we tend to forget that we are still a family when it's" just us two" again.  When you think about it, when it is just two, and one is gone, the other one is left alone.  I am feeling some guilt about that right now....

i have always had difficulty finding balance in my life.  We are close to a good point right now, with me taking one class to stay more mentally alert, but not dragged out for days and nights on end with non-farm, non-family work.  

I've been on a really deep thought path the last week or so...trying to figure out why I am so driven to do something beside just being happy here.  We already have what most people work a lifetime to achieve, live in a place with natural benefits that peopel travel from all over the world to enjoy, and most days, have time to spend doing things we actually want to do now. 

Still, I hear a tiny voice nagging me to "accomplish" something.  Trying to figure out whose voice that is, and why she won't shut the H up!

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