Saying No

Hi, I’m Gen, and I’m a people pleaser.

Yip. I’m a “yes sure, no problem” kinda gal. When someone asks me to do something, my instinctual response is to say yes.

Hey Gen, can you please see another 10 patients before you go?

Hey Gen, can you please be in charge of drawing up the call roster?

Hey Gen, can you please drop me off somewhere on your way home?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Actually I’m not that bad. I don’t say yes to everything, I do have my limits. But as a self-confessed people pleaser, I want to make the people around me happy. As a result the first thing I seem to want to do is to say YES when they ask something of me. Which is all well and good, except that saying ‘yes’ all the time is actually a big no. By saying yes to everyone else, putting their whims and wishes above yours, you are essentially saying  no to yourself. Eventually the compulsion to make everyone around you joyful leaves you feeling unhappy, depleted and resentful. What a task that is, to place someone else’s happiness in our own hands. To feel responsible for their good moods and smiles, and to forgo our own in exchange.

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. But what I think is equally important is finding out why we behave in the ways we do. Why do I feel the need to make other people happy? Why do I struggle so much with saying no?  So I dug real deep and asked myself the hard questions. I really tried to think about all the reasons that people in general, not just me, have a hard time saying no to people.

So this is what I came up with. I feel like some of us don’t like saying no because we want other people to like us. We don’t want to let anyone down. Maybe we rely on other people’s affirmations and praise to make us feel good, and we’re afraid that if we say no we won’t get that. Maybe we say no because setting clear boundaries is really difficult for us or we don’t know how. And maybe somewhere along the line we decided that who we are was defined by making other people happy. And you can’t make others happy if you don’t say yes all the time, right?

This is where we really need to start being brave. Because it takes courage to decide that our own happiness comes before someone else’s. It takes courage to realise that our self-worth is not defined by the number of people we think we can make happy. And it takes a whole lot of courage to start advocating for our own ‘YES’ instead of someone else’s. Every time we say yes to something when we actually really want to say no, we diminish our own inner flame a little. And then your whole purpose of pleasing other people to make yourself feel better is actually defeated.

So here’s what I propose to do. Whenever someone asks me to do something, I’m going to try take a moment before I automatically answer yes. I’m going to be honest and brave, and if it’s something I really don’t want to do, I need to say no. Because I know the people who really matter to me don’t like me because of what I do. They like me because of who I am. And as of this point, I am a recovering people-pleaser.

Thanks for stopping by ❤

G xxx




3 thoughts on “Saying No

  1. Wow, I wrote a similar post to this recently and love your point about asking why we people please. I’ve been digging deep and have found that I tend to feel inferior to pretty much everyone and so it makes it hard to see that my wants are just as important as other people’s. And the whole wanting to be liked comes back to it too. If I already was secure in myself, I wouldn’t care so much if people liked me. So definitely got to work on seeing myself as anybody’s equal. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Wow, thank you for such an open response! I just read your post and it’s great. Sometimes we need to be a bit selfish and so no to things we don’t want to do. You are AS important as everyone else, you need to say yes to yourself too! X


      1. No worries, just so glad I’m not the only one writing posts like these – hehe. So with you – big learning curve but coming round to that idea.


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