Read an interesting article so I thought I’d share it here for viewing pleasure!
When I say no, I don’t mean maybe.
I don’t mean-
Ask me in an hour.
Make me feel guilty. Then I’ll say yes.
I’ll do it later.
When I say no, I mean hell no.
Don’t ask me again.
My refusal to be used, drained, and manipulated is a loud, resounding war cry. I earned the right to opt-out, swipe left, and say ‘nah’ when opportunities don’t align with my core beliefs and gut instincts.
I know who I am. I know what matters to me. I can’t be enticed by carrots or coins because my joy is no longer linked to my bank account. My sanity is more important than the temporary, flimsy praise that comes with being willing to substitute rewards and recognition for rest and healing.
Saying no isn’t, in of itself, revolutionary. People say no to each other every day. But it’s usually coupled with excuses, deflection, denial, and white lies.
The revolution begins when no is a complete sentence.
When I don’t want to do something, I’m not going to do it.
Being agreeable is overrated. Being liked is conditional, contingent on being exactly who someone else expects me to be at all times.
I remember being complimented in a corporate board meeting for being “emotionally consistent”. At the time, I was elated. I really thought those words belonged together in that phrase. But they don’t.
Emotions are inflections, lifted and dipped like the crashes and salutations of waves approaching the coast. The moon isn’t in the same mood every day. She hides and renews herself at will. She shows her entire face when she’s good and ready. No one asks her to smile more or be consistent.
“Emotionally consistent” means robotic. What the CEO of that organization really said to me in that meeting was, “thank you for being a reliable bot, with no varying emotions, ticks, or deficiencies that might obstruct productivity.”
When I walked away from corporate culture, I read at least two million books and blogs about mental health and realized one thing.
If I didn’t learn how to make myself a priority immediately, healing would always be at the bottom of my to-do list. What happened next was anticlimactic.
I slept through 2018.
Resting wasn’t initially rejuvenating because I didn’t feel like I’d earned the right to recover. I thought people recovered from their careers in an appropriate, unproblematic way once they retired. The guilt I experienced was unrelenting. I felt childish, selfish even, for not being able to be who everybody wanted me to be- an emotionless marketing maven with a lot of bulky plaques and “salesperson of the year” certificates.
Why is self-preservation always confused with selfishness? There is a clear distinction. The latter is the act of thinking about oneself in all situations.
Self-preservation, however, is the process of recovering from exclusively thinking about everybody else. I say no to save my life. I had to manufacture the audacity and will to save an ounce of energy and oxygen for myself.
A few things I say no to, now that I’m healthier -
- Asking for permission to be myself
- Spending time with people who only talk about other people
- Sharing my body with people who aren’t interesting, authentic, and kind
- Working in organizations and on teams with leaders who are subtly racist and faux ‘woke’
- Living in spaces where I am tolerated instead of accepted, loved, and nurtured
- ‘Playing small’ or tucking away my talent to avoid upsetting people who love calling strong women “difficult”