It’s been a long day. Work was insane. Your boss won’t get off your back. The commute from hell could not be worse. Every human you have come in contact with in the last 8 hours is the epitome of an asshole. You finally get home – to more demanding humans (your children, if you have those – who are also in complete asshole mode today). Unfortunately, (after the little jerks are tamed and some housework gets ignored again) there’s more work to do that your boss expects in the morning – when the only “work” you hoped for tonight was to actually sit down, watch some crappy reality TV and go sleep. Well, you finally get to the “sleep” part at least. And then it happens. You’re finally in complete relax mode – and someone cozies up to you in just the way that should make you smile and tingle. But instead, it paralyzes you in a way that makes you just want to cry (and die) a little inside because there could not be a worse moment for this. “Oh fuck, no” is what you’re thinking – but “oh fuck, yes” is what’s on someone else’s mind. This is literally the LAST thing you want right now. So what do you do? You have taken one for the team occasionally. But tonight, you can’t be a team player. You just have to say NO – and you might even make up a reason. Do any of these sound familiar?
“I have a headache”: Does anyone really use that lame excuse? You should actually be ashamed if you do and that’s the best you could come up with. Beyond cliché and why would that awful line work anyway? No one wants to touch your head.
“I just showered”: Also a terrible line. Don’t you realize that’s actually a good thing? Especially if it’s a Mr. Dangle lying next to you? They LIKE that and it will just rile him up more. A lot more.
“I have my period”: Not completely foolproof, but a pretty strong deterrent. You know your partner best, so you may roll the dice on this one. Absolutely no judgement here, to each his own.
“I forgot to take my birth control today”: A very strong contender. Assuming you are actually on the pill. And obviously that it is a MR. Dangle lying next you – and not a Ms. Puss.
“I have a UTI”: DING, DING, DING! We have a winner. We could debate at a later time, but “I have a yeast infection” could tie for the top spot too. Either line is enough said and absolutely no questions or comments will ensue. Your bedmate will immediately retreat to their designated side of the bed. In fact, they may even leave the bed for the night, especially if you utter the words “yeast infection”. You will officially be off the hook – and may even get the bed to yourself.
Look at what we just went through to come up with a reason to say NO to doing the deed. A million possible excuses could have come to mind to get out of it – but in the end you knew you were going to say NO in this instance. As women, we often don’t have a problem saying NO when it comes to doing the nasty if the stars are not all aligned in our favor. But on the other hand – look at all the possible excuses we felt we NEEDED to come up with in order to get a pass on this. Hmmm….
Why as women do we have such a hard time saying NO in our lives? Why is saying such a short, concise and very direct word – that was probably one of the first words we uttered as toddlers – so difficult for many of us to say? We’re “not in the mood” for so many other things we commit ourselves to in our busy lives, but find ourselves saying “YES” much more than we want to. Why do we do this to ourselves?
If you’re answering that question in your head as you’re reading along – my guess is you said something like, “It’s too hard to say NO” or “I feel bad saying NO.” And that is the root of many of our issues as women: guilt. It’s all with the best intentions. We feel badly about disappointing someone. We feel awful if we don’t live up to an expectation we have built – and maybe that expectation only exists in our own minds. We feel terrible if we can’t do it all – and then some. We feel like a failure if we’re not taking care of someone – or everyone, for that. In our quest to try and be all things to everyone, we have forgotten – or are even afraid at times – to say that simple, two letter word. But the thing is – when we overextend ourselves by not being able to say NO – the person that you’re ultimately not taking care of is YOU. YOU are the one that ends up feeling most awful and disappointed (which often comes out as cranky, bitchy or pissy) because YOU are now completely stressing – and in turn, neglecting – yourself. And without fail – you WILL fail as a result of trying to do it all.
So this is what I propose. Let’s start saying YES to saying NO. Yes, you can say NO. Think of all the things on your “to do” list or the commitments you make in two ways and ask yourself the following: (1) do I NEED to do this? and (2) do I WANT to do this? Need and want are two different things but it’s easy to blur the lines sometimes – often because of guilt. One thing is for certain, though. If you answer NO to both these questions – then saying NO to that particular commitment you’re presented with is a no brainer. Try it, it will take some practice to start saying NO – but I’m pretty confident that you’ll really start to like it.
This is the first step to getting on the road to saying NO. And while the reason why you’re saying NO to something is absolutely not necessary, maybe next time I’ll give you some ideas of ways to say NO if you think just saying so is not enough. I promise – none of the lines will involve a UTI or a yeast infection. And guess what? If you start saying NO to enough other things you don’t need or want to do – you’ll REALLY want to say YES, the next time someone cozies up to you. OH, YES….
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