I used to think that teachers were punished for being good at their jobs. “Oh you know Spanish…could you translate this? You’re good at classroom management, could you cover this class? You’re good at paperwork, could you be Lead?”
Now I know that that is just human nature. “Oh, you know how to X….then could you do Y for me?” I guess it’s a compliment. People are recognizing that you are good at something. However, during the last six months it has been painfully pointed out to me that I have an extreme problem with saying no. The wonderful thing is…that is changing. I have learned now to set my limits and understand when no is an appropriate answer.
While I’m still working on this, these are the times I think we all might do better to say no:
1. When you’re plate is already too full and someone is asking you to do something that is their responsibility.
2. When saying yes enables someone to continue self-destructive behavior or continue not to know how to do something on their own.
3. When you realize (like with your children), that the person is asking mostly because you always say yes and they are just used to you doing whatever they ask….even if you don’t want to….which brings me to the next one.
4. Say no when you flat don’t want to do what is being requested of you. (Of course this doesn’t apply to every situation, but use common sense here.)
5. When saying yes makes you resentful or angry. (I think this one is VERY important when dealing with loved ones.)
6. Say no when someone has asked too much of you because if you don’t yet…you will eventually get angry or resentful.
7. Say no when you are not feeling well. Saying yes here is just self-destructive.
Now as I have already pointed out, common sense is very important here. There are times in life when we all just need to step up and take on something we don’t necessarily want to. That’s just the nature of life. We will have to plan funerals, pay bills and take care of family even when it isn’t exactly what we want to do. For me to help determine when to say yes, I simply ask myself three questions: Is this something I want to do? Will this really help this person? Is this in any way my responsibility or should this person be handling this on their own? These answers are not always clear cut, but they help me make my decision.
My new direction in life has allowed me to take on and say yes to the things I LOVE to do which is take care of my kids and my grandkids and spend more time with family in general and as I finish my class, I can expand those happy moments to include more of my friends and family. I just hope I can stay strong and keep up my new boundaries without going to extremes in any direction. My hope is that I can and that my relationships will actually be stronger because of it. (The search for Balance continues…)