Monday, March 29, 2010

The "No" Experiment

I am sick of being a "yes" woman. I'm one of those people you call if you need something, because I'll rearrange my schedule and/or priorities and come running. I give and give and give until I have nothing left for myself. I run on fumes (and chocolate). Today, I gave so much of myself that I am exhausted. And yet I came home at 4:00 pm and signed myself up to give some more. So it goes from me doing things out of the goodness of my heart to doing things because I feel guilty saying no when I know that it's POSSIBLE for me to do something for others, even if it isn't in my best interests. I feel guilty letting friends, family, or ANYONE down.

I was at WalMart today with a legally blind woman I gave a ride to so she could "buy canned goods." She left spending over $200, and less than a fourth of that was on canned goods. I helped her haul her booty up to her apartment and reluctantly gave her my phone number when she asked for it. I have no idea why I did that. I shouldn't have and definitely didn't need to. I spent over 3 hours with her when her request was for something that shouldn't have taken more than 20-30 minutes.

So people call and ask if I can help with this or that. I only say no if I have prior obligations or plans with someone else. If it only effects me and requires some small or great sacrifice on my part, I oblige them. And, like I'm doing right now, I end up fuming and cursing myself for saying yes. I go into the "service" activity with a terrible attitude and feeling more negative toward the person for asking me when I "know" he or she could have called someone else. In fact, sometimes I encourage people to do just that but end up feeling so guilty I call back and say, "Okay. I can do it," when I mentally, physically, and/or emotionally just shouldn't do it.

What is wrong with me?

One of my friends wrote something on Facebook that got me to venting (which I desperately need to do). She responded that I need to just say no. I told her that sometimes when I actually do say no, I feel as though the person I'm saying no to is trying to give me a guilt trip, so I feel the need to justify my no with all the reasons why I mean it. She told me not to give excuses and just say no.

So, I'm challenging myself. I have reasons, but April is an especially good month for me to say no, and it's just around the corner. For the whole month of April, I'm going to say no to those extra "little" requests from people. I'm not going to give reasons or excuses. I'm just going to say no. Even saying I'm going to do this petrifies me, so that just shows me how much I need to do it!

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