Just say “no”


This is about learning how to “be”. It’s a lesson that some already know, but I’m guessing there are so many others just like me, who struggle with this very thing.

Part of being targeted, or “targetable” is; lacking self-confidence. The very fact that those of us who lack self-confidence make it very visible to everyone around us, is exactly what causes predators to “take notice”. It makes us appear as a fun game for predators. It’s fun for them to torment, shock, hurt and abuse us. Part of the reason we are so obvious to them, is that we are completely unable to just say, “yes” or “no”.

I’ll explain a little…

This is another one of “those” posts, which requires you to place yourself back into a memory, in order to answer the question. Not to worry, It won’t be too painful (I hope). Can you remember any time in recent memory, or distant, that someone asked you if you want to do something? In my past, sometimes I would say “yes”, even though I wanted to say “no”. Those times I actually said, “No, thank you”, I immediately followed with an exuberant explanation, telling them all of the reasons why my “no” was reasonable. It took me a long time to realize that all I was doing was making my low self-esteem and lack of confidence very, VERY obvious. I realized that I caused some people to lose respect for me, just in that small explanation. I appeared weak and unsure of myself. I caused some people to view me as if I was still a child.

Remember, I glean a lot of understanding by being aware of my own emotions, or reactions to certain situations. I also understand that some of my reactions, mirror others’ reactions. It’s just being human. I realized when someone over-explained themselves to me, how I naturally, internally felt. I realized one day, that I viewed them as if they were a young child, at that point. It wasn’t intentional, at all. It was just a natural occurrence that I became aware of. I think it causes(d) others to feel the same way, when I would “over-explain” myself to others.

That being said… My friend of so many years, asked me, “Why do you have to explain?”. It took quite a while, but she eventually got to me. I asked myself the same question. “Why DO I have to explain myself?”

Over explaining the why’s behind your decisions, chosen actions, etc. stems from many possible triggers. Most of those are completely fear-based. My personal reason stemmed from a long-time fear of anger or of upsetting someone. If I didn’t do what he/she asked, or answered in just “the right way”, that person might become angry or think less of me. In order to avoid the negativity, I would explain myself until I felt they understood, and everything would be “ok”. Now, I realize that in explaining myself, that person probably did think less of me. Not of me as an individual, but probably lost some confidence “in” me. It’s hard to explain… moving on…

Something else to consider about over-explaining ourselves to others: When we over explain, we also divulge information that isn’t privy to EVERYONE’S ears!! In order to help someone understand our why’s and why-not’s, we try to show them how empathetic we are, and hope that they will be empathetic as well. We share information that makes us appear weaker, to soften their potential anger, or discontent with us. You might have other triggers which drive you to over-explain… Try to place yourself in the shoes of the listener. How would it make you feel if you were that person, listening? Uncomfortable? Full of pity? Disgust? Less respect for the one doing the explaining? No shame, here… Read on..

Giving someone an explanation for your chosen direction or what-have-you, is sometimes necessary…but you don’t have to explain yourself! If someone misunderstands your decision, you might have to reassure them, or explain your choices in order to salvage or further cultivate a friendship. If your boss tells you, “Explain yourself!” Trust me…it’s in your best interest to give an explanation 🙂

With every realization I’ve had in the last few years, learning to put them into practice does take some brave steps into the “unknown”. When I realized just what I was doing when I chose to explain myself, at all times, it was a rude awakening. It’s not healthy to explain ourselves to everyone, for every reason. It further hampers our self-confidence, and keeps us stuck in place. Step one: Just say “no” or “no thank you, would a different day work for you?”… or even “Yes”.

Have you ever experienced a time when someone wanted clarification? “I heard a rumor, is ‘this’ true?” Again, don’t explain but don’t lie either. If it’s true, just say “yes”. Most often, a short answer is good enough, and the other person doesn’t want or need any more information. They are satisfied with the outcome, as you should be, too.

If someone asks me, now, “Would you like to get some coffee later?” I let my yes be yes, and no mean no. If I like the person and the problem with getting together for coffee is time, I offer an alternate date or time. If it’s due to dealing with personal problems, I still offer no explanation but suggest a different time or day. My personal issues are no-one’s business, unless I choose to make it their business.. No apologies needed… 🙂 If it’s someone I would rather not get chummy with, I just say, “No, thank you anyway.” No further explanation is needed. I have become more confident in myself, as it pertains to interactions with other people. Sometimes I fall back into old habits, because it’s hard to change life-long habits, without slipping once in a while. When you realize it, you’ll correct it and become stronger by the day.

I’ll post this as it stands. If you need clarification, I’ll be happy to help!

Each day brings growth and healing. Healthier choices and lives to follow.