How great it felt to say no

Or rather, finding the joy in realising you just can’t be arsed

This gif of queen Tina Fey as 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon is me in a nutshell – saying ‘yes to love, yes to life, yes to staying in more!’ Of course, this often means I say no to things, and I used to think nothing of saying no to plans. ‘I need time to recharge’ is what I would routinely tell myself. Many times, this was indeed the case. But sometimes, I just couldn’t be arsed. 

So, yes, I love staying in BUT 2020 wasn’t quite the amount of it I had in mind. With over a year of lockdown nearly behind us, it would be easy to rush to do as many things as possible as we begin easing out of restrictions. But if there’s one thing being stripped of commitments and plans teaches you, is how many you were attending even when you didn’t actually want to. Did you feel a sense of relief that you were now *legally* unable to do things? That’s a surefire sign you just couldn’t be arsed. 

So, why do we do it? I’m hazarding a guess that many of us are people pleasers. This post from @thebraincoach sums it up so well; ‘people pleasing stems from our need to belong’ and that’s completely normal. Nawal outlines what people pleasing can look like including, to paraphrase, having difficulty saying no or setting boundaries, and agreeing with everything just to be liked. 

I’ve been dreadfully guilty of this throughout my career in particular - saying yes to things I had no interest in or didn’t want to do because I didn’t want to be seen as being difficult or unwilling to help out. In fact, up until I read Nawal’s post I would’ve dutifully described myself as a people pleaser.

Right on cue, I had a client approach me with some work that I had to tell them wasn’t the best approach, that they didn’t want to pay full price for. So I said no. I realised, you guessed it, that I just couldn’t be arsed. 

Wow, turns out maybe I’m not a big people pleaser. Who knew? And, here’s the kicker; it felt SO GOOD. Realising your worth, valuing your time and energy, and understanding where it’s best placed is an incredible feeling. 

This isn’t to say you never have to do anything you don’t want to ever again, life will always be full of uncomfortable family events to sit through, or carefully worded replies to friends trying to rope you into pyramid schemes. But, I would encourage you to take a look at your own needs and make sure they aren’t being neglected in favour of someone else’s. Redistribute that energy, babe, you won’t regret it.

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