Donna’s Delights and Insights

Donna Linn

I Do, But I Don’t!

By Donna Linn,
Healthy Planet Columnist

 It occurs to me that many of us are guilty of saying yes when we really mean no. Being gracious and thoughtful human beings, we’d rather hurt ourselves than those whom we love. I remember a friend popping by who cheerfully announced she was no longer the “yes” girl. “I’m tired of being taken advantage of,” she said. She plopped on my sofa and proudly proclaimed she was the “no” girl. I listened, captivated. Could it be that saying yes is a bona fide syndrome?

 I was reminded of the many times I, too, said yes. A little critter-sitting for Popcat? Count me in. Watch your paint dry? I’ll be there in a jiff. My mother left me with a long legacy of saying yes. She was particularly vulnerable to sales reps offering a complimentary snow globe that seemed to multiply on our mantel piece. If we mean no, why do we continue saying yes?

 It’s easy to quickly agree when somebody asks us to do something; we don’t want to disappoint. Our way of giving back is to be useful and valuable to others. Saying yes to family, especially our children, makes us feel good. Fear of rejection and abandonment is another reason for saying yes. We all want to be thought of as loveable creatures. Additionally, many of us fear conflict; it’s just easier to keep the peace.

 But saying yes reflexively can cause us to feel anger and resentment. We should learn to prioritize and admit to ourselves we can’t do everything. When we do too much for others, our own needs are often ignored. Setting boundaries is crucial; replenishing our body and mind is vital for our well-being. It’s also important to keep the promises we’ve made to ourselves; they’re often the most important promises of all. Going on a trip, or a night on the town with our significant other, is good for the soul.

 A lot has transpired since the “no” girl plopped on my sofa. Popcat has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I’ve also learned how to say no in the most creative ways. “You can’t afford me, honey,” or “sorry, I have to walk my cheetah now.” One of the challenges of trying something new is that one day we’ll be put to the test.

 “Hello, dear,” said the voice on the phone. “Pepper needs a critter-sitter!”

Donna Linn, M.A. is a communication specialist, educator, and interviewer. Contact Donna at showmetalkradio@gmail.com.