Author: Chloe Brotheridge
We are used to saying yes to please others but it can be harmful not to be more assertive. And imagine what you can do with all that free time.
When you ask someone how they are, 95% of the time they will answer with some version of “busy”, “good, but busy” or even, sometimes, “crazy busy”.
Busy has become a badge of honour, a signifier of success – a humble brag that implies we are important and in demand. But if you really are “too busy”, chances are, you are not saying no enough.
Many of us struggle to say no, fearing rejection, anger or just the uncertainty of what the other person’s response will be. Our people-pleasing is often rooted in childhood. We might have been raised to be a good girl or boy, praised for being “mummy’s little helper”, or we might not have been given enough attention, and so sought it by pleasing others, even at the expense of ourselves. I am a hypnotherapist and one client told me recently that, as a child, she felt responsible for her depressed mother’s happiness. Now, she said, she feels she must say yes to every request for fear of upsetting people. Another client told me that he used to fear his father’s angry outbursts, and would often say yes to avoid getting on the wrong side of someone’s temper.
We can get so used to saying yes and pleasing others that we don’t even know what we want, or what our needs are. But if your life is so tightly packed with other people’s requests that you don’t have time for what really matters to you – or worse, your mental health is at risk – it is time to make a change.
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