Learn to say “no”


Today I said “no” twice.

It felt good.

I have a number of people in my life who have tremendous influence on my life. They are indispensable, like my family or my mentors. I like them very much, I have a strong bond with them, but I also have frustrations and heart-breaks with them. Since they are so important for me, contributed to my personal and my professional life substantially, even though they break my heart (I possibly break theirs, too – to be fair), I keep keeping them in my life, loving them, and being nice as much as I can be. Like many people, we hardly talk about our issues, which often means we continue this over-the-surface relationships while deep down both sides are hurt somehow, sometime, over time. We argue sometimes, too. The negative feelings inevitably accumulate and reach a level that cannot be over-looked.

One of my mentors made a comment about me on social media yesterday (which sounded more like an insult to me; considering all the sensitivity around our relationships, it is not unusual that I felt that way. It could have been just an innocent comment, too. But honestly I do not give a darn about the intention of her comment right now…), which was the last drop in our long history. I took it lightly and managed to play low and joking, but it did change me. I wondered why I keep her in my life, visit her whenever I can find time, or call just to say hi, especially that she does not take steps to contact me. I decided it was time that I cut this charade.

Today with my family too I finally said no. No, I did not cut my ties; they are so important to me and I love them. But I also feel inadequate as a family member. They have expectations from me and I do from them, but when we are short in delivering the expectations, you feel nothing but inadequacy and low self-esteem. I am sick of this feeling. It has been a long way. I am tired.

I am not sure whether I should go visit them this year. Last year was horrible in so many different ways and my relationship with my family is a little bit strained. When I mentioned that today, my mom said whatever happened between my family and I was all in the past. She is nice and all, but she does not consider that it is not over for me. The same thing when I am there; my needs or wishes are hardly a priority; I go where they go, travel quite a bit to see them with long trips, find myself in ridiculous dialogues with ridiculous people (people other than my family), and eventually come back even more tired than when I start the trip.

It is my annual holiday and I think I deserve more than this. Like taking a rest and having a say in where and when to go somewhere, if ever. What if I have other things that I would like to do? ……

My family is sad that I consider not visiting them this year. But perhaps I should prioritize my own wishes this time. I have one life and at one point I just would like to feel “good about myself”. Do I not deserve this feeling?

I have been meaning to visit South America for a very long time. I wonder whether I can do it this summer. Or, just have a staycation. At least I would not feel not approved, loved, or respected.

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6 thoughts on “Learn to say “no”

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  1. Good for you! It can be so hard to say no when we feel a pull to be a ‘good person.’ I think it’s important to realize that we’re deserving of our own love and protection. Thank you so much for this! I’ve been saying no and feeling a bit badly but your words helped me see that I am not doing anything wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. because sometime there is no optimum decision; either way is not so great and we must choose between the alternatives that we believe will minimize the negative consequences or maximize the benefits. In either way we would be guilt-stricken I guess (have you read Sophie’s choice?). one other point would be we do not like to prioritize ourselves over others, but then every once a while should be just fine. who created the term “selfish”? argh.. 🙂

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