Friday, April 17, 2015

If you are so sensitive, how can you say No?

I have been experimenting with saying No a lot more. Although it's becoming easier, it takes some energy and makes me irritable. Why did the person ask? It's as if my anger at the cost it takes to say No comes lashing out at the terribleness of this poor person. Why are they making me feel so bad? 

It's almost like I am having a mini-existential crisis. If I am not this nice, accommodating person, who am I? Maybe when you say No, that's what you feel as well. Feelings of having done something bad wash over you. Like me, maybe, you have a lot of your identity tied in being "nice." 

What does it mean exactly, being nice? I think the reason I could start saying No was because I realized that one of the reasons I was reluctant to say No was because I was projecting myself onto the other person. I have been said No to in some big ways in the past. I felt that the other person would feel the same way, and so I avoided No at all costs. 

Part of what I was avoiding was reactivating my own feelings, my own memories of being said No to. And so, with that clarity, I realized that playing nice was a little bit about burying my own pain, and not as much about the other person, so it wasn't very giving ultimately. 

I was not looking at the real need of the person, which sometimes wasn't as acute. I was seeing myself in them and in some twisted way, trying to help that part of me. 

This was, of course, just one part of my problems with saying No. The other part was this. I had the belief that if you are a good person, you say Yes. You say Yes to what other people ask of you. You say Yes as a default response, without considering what it costs you. 

In fact, mostly, I never thought of the cost. I thought that if I am good and thoughtful and nice, good things would automatically happen to me. That was the magical thinking of the child. But in reality, what happened was that while some good things did happen, giving away my energy and time in a thousand little ways, without any direction, depleted my own self. It left me resentful and angry. 

What we have been told about our hearts is wrong, I think. It is not always giving that keeps them alive. I think what keeps them alive is maintaining the right flow of energy -- giving unconditionally on the one hand and receiving the nourishment you need on the other. 

You need to receive. And you need to receive what you need, not just what someone offers you. You have your own unique needs. And you need some different lessons in giving. You might need to remind yourself to give discerningly, so that you don't give "on demand." That usually happens when someone else is happy doing the taking.

You might have to sacrifice the belief that we should always give without calculation. Our time and energy is limited. A Yes to one thing or person is often a default No to another person or thing that is not as loud, not as demanding. 

Maybe the people and things in your life that are important but that don't speak up as insistently can be your motivation. When we say Yes without thinking, they suffer. It is up to us, as sensitive people, to become more discerning about who really needs our energy, and how we can really contribute in the world. 

Giving pieces of yourself away does not help anyone. You have something valuable to give, and saying No is part of what will help both you and me to make a whole offering, and not give pieces of ourselves away for nothing. 

I am telling myself.  I am a sensitive person. I can say No. This will help build a better structure in my life. It will help me feel more safe and secure. Claiming my own piece of land will help me cultivate what's really important to me. When that grows, that will be the thing that can most help other people. That will be the thing that is mine to give. 

No comments:

Post a Comment