Learning when to say “yes” and when to say “no” can be tricky even for the most well-rounded person. I am still working on this one but have come a long way. I have learned it is important to listen to myself and know what I need so that I can provide an honest answer. I have learned that I am not doing myself or anyone else a favor by saying “yes” when I really mean “no”.
For me now, there is a sorting process. First, I need to figure out what I really want, which isn’t as easy it sounds. Second, I need to determine whether I really care one way or another about the issue at hand. If not, then it really doesn’t matter either way. Third, I need to figure out if my answer is fear-based. If I am saying “yes” because I am afraid to stand up for myself, then I need to work through that. If I am saying “no” because I am afraid to do something that I really want to do, then I need to push past my comfort zone.
One of my favorite comedians, Jim Carrey, who has admitted to having bouts of depression, has starred in two hilarious movies, The Mask and Me, Myself and Irene ,that both illustrate what can happen over time when someone suppresses his own needs in lieu of everyone else’s. I can relate to a few of the scenes where his alter ego has had enough and takes over, full force. This approach does not always end well, as you will see from the first clip. Toward the end of my marriage when I’d had enough, the uglier side of me came out on many occasions before realizing it was time to call it quits.
Last, there are times when it may be in my best interest to say “yes” even when I want to say “no”. Rejecting a directive from my employer may seem like a good idea, but unless there is a moral issue at stake I may want to carefully consider whether it is worth declining. It doesn’t mean I can’t offer a thoughtful alternative, but if that doesn’t yield the outcome I hoped for, ultimately honoring their request might be the best option.