Friday, April 17, 2015

The Power of No

I've often wondered why women have a harder time saying "No" to a request, than men.

True, we are biologically, the nurturers, and if the World had it's way, we'd all be men (The End. But that's another post!). There is a definite hesitation in refusing requests with women. If we do say No, we dwell on it for days until we change our own minds about it. We torture ourselves with it.

This is the reason car salesmen think we are an 'easy sell', why strangers can guerrilla-spritz us with perfume in a store and think we'll follow them to the counter to spend our money, why friends and relatives just 'know' they can count on that female to do what they need done at the last minute.

Why is saying, "No" so uncomfortable for us? Why is it such a problem? Do we not want to hurt feelings? Do we want to be needed, liked or loved? Are we truly always available to help? Do we want to show we can do it all? Who are we trying to please? What are we trying to prove?

This happens in our personal and professional lives. Men? They don't care. I shouldn't say they don't, that's it. They don't care.

A man will say, "Nope. No. Can't do it. Busy. Eh-eh." and shake his head just to drive it home and not give it a second thought. They are seen as decisive, powerful, and of strong substance. A woman does that and, pardon my language, but she's now categorized as a bitch.

My power in saying "No" came after 40. I hate to keep bringing up age but it's true that with maturity comes that confidence and willingness to do for oneself as well as others. That hesitation is disappearing as time passes. Realizing we have a finite amount of time to live, makes you more careful with how you spend that time. Doing anything I don't want to do is not part of the plan. Attempting to squeeze in tasks for others that leave what I want to do, done shoddily, is not in my plan. Prioritizing has become a key element in my life.

I'd like to do it all. It would be nice if I could. But I can't. I'm not built that way. And there are times you must refuse to help for another to learn they don't need you but can handle it, independently. We do that with children in order to teach them, right?

I'd love to know that we are teaching our children that it's alright to say, "No" with confidence and not unreasonably. They are asked a question. The answer can be Yes or No. They must obey for their own safety but they aren't required to please anyone.

While this may not be true of every woman, we must admit there have been times we've been trapped into not speaking the truth. I've witnessed friends raised in the South who say "No" with such firm gracefulness that the person walks away thinking, "That was so nice of her!". Oh, I'm learning.

Obviously, no one is going to deny help to a person in true need. If I have the time and resources and ability and desire, I jump in. I'm still learning to become more realistic and confident in choosing when to say yes and when to say no. I'm learning to do it without apologizing for it, without feeling guilty, without offense, and without hurt feelings.

Reboot Challenge? Find your way to that point. And then, let your Yes be your Yes and your No, your No.

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