I’ve finally relented and jumped on the dating app wagon to find someone for myself. Let me tell you right off the bat that this is not a post about me ranting on the kinds of guys I’ve met. It’s really not.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that cleared, let’s start again.
I’ve swiped left and right a lot, in the hopes of finding that elusive someone, looking for that intangible connection, that indefinable spark. But so far, I’ve been unlucky. But no matter, for I have hopes of one day meeting a man whom I could respect, like, and even come to love. However, in this quest of meeting a man, I’ve come to notice something about myself – my inability to say NO.
Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License
I match with a guy, and the next logical step is to chat on the dating platform, to see if there’s potential in the match. Potential to be something more. However, after a few exchanges, I usually get a feel for the person on the other end, and know if it’s something hopeful, or merely meh. But the thing is, it’s easier to talk and get to know the person who is interesting and holds my attention, rather than the person who, for some reason, starts to annoy me with their texts. It’s nothing personal, it’s just the way it is. If I lose interest in a guy, and I know that it isn’t going anywhere, I’d rather cut him off. And herein comes my problem – I can’t seem to say NO to the guy.
Since childhood, my parents have instilled in me the importance of being polite and courteous to ALL, irrespective of their age, creed, faith, or orientation. That’s the kind of childhood I had. And as I’ve grown up into adulthood, it seems harder to break off that habit, and hurt someone. Logically, I know that I’m not being rude when I say NO. That I’m actually freeing him up for another connection on the app. That if I don’t connect with someone, it’s not my fault or his. That I don’t have to feel bad for saying no. That it’s just the way it is.
But I’ve been having a hard time putting this into practice. Why is that? Because I don’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings? I’m sure he’s had plenty of people say no to him, same as me. What makes me so different? Why can’t I say no, when I know that it isn’t going anywhere? It even goes to the extent of me feeling guilty for having ‘hurt’ the person on the other end. Mind you, I don’t know if my no ‘hurt’ him or not, it’s just something that comes to my head.
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That’s when I started looking for answers as to why I have a hard time saying no. I have always been a people pleaser. For as far back as I can remember, I have had a problem saying no to people – my loved ones, my friends, extended family – you name it, and I’ve said YES, when what I really wanted to say was NO.
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I’ve done favors, even if I’ve resented the person for asking it of me in the first place.
I’ve done work that wasn’t mine to do, because I couldn’t say NO to the person who demanded that I help them.
I’ve said YES to things I really didn’t want anything to do with, just because I couldn’t say NO.
Why don’t I have the power of saying no? How can I learn to say NO in a way that isn’t hurtful or make me feel guilty?
In my quest to find out how, I came across a few strategies that I can employ to make my life a bit easier. Here’s what I learned:
1. Others’ reactions.
One of the foremost things on my mind when I even think of saying no to someone is what their reaction is going to be. Whether they’d be angry, hurt, disappointed, or a combination of all three. But the thing I need to keep in mind is that I have control only over what I feel, rather that what another person feels. It’s just NOT in my control. When I say no, it’s a boundary that I’m setting, that I’d appreciate the other person to respect. If I don’t respect my own boundaries and make it one drawn in the sand, it is just going to leave me bitter and resentful in the long run.
Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License
2. Self-care is important.
The power of saying no doesn’t come overnight. I need to put in efforts and learn how to actually say it to another person – a friend or a colleague, doesn’t matter. Sure, I want to be giving and compassionate towards people in my life, but not at the cost of my own well-being. I can’t constantly be expected to work or do others’ bidding or take stock of what others might feel over my actions. If I constantly think about what others might feel or think, I won’t be able to giving myself the care that I need. I’m not being compassionate or giving toward myself, in my quest to make others happy. Is it worth it? I don’t think so, and nor is it healthy.
In fact, I deserve to treat myself with care, compassion, and kindness that I’m so eager to treat others with. If I don’t care about myself, who will?
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Yes, setting boundaries in personal relationships isn’t as easy as it seems to be. In fact, it’s easier to set boundaries with people I don’t know all that well, rather than those I care for and love. However, what I’ve learnt is that although setting boundaries in personal relationships can be quite difficult, it’s a vital part of having a healthy, adult, personal relationship. And it’s also essential for my own well-being as well.
When I don’t have to say YES to everything and everyone around me, it frees up so much of my time for things that I actually love doing. It doesn’t cause me heartburn for doing something I didn’t want to do in the first place, and it doesn’t leave me with a bad taste in my mouth for having ‘disappointed,’ or ‘hurt,’ or ‘angered’ a loved one or an acquaintance.
See? I have no compunction to say NO to that guy I’ve been texting on the app, because I know it isn’t going anywhere. That it’s a dead-end. This right here is the power of saying NO.
Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License