Some weeks ago I was having a bit of trouble with handling requests from people. It always started with a small harmless request and it started working its way, growing bigger and encroaching my comfort zone. Twisted but it reminded me of the way crime documentaries describe how pedophiles groom their victims.
When asked for a favor, I was always too quick to say yes, or find it hard to turn down the request. In some cases like I said, I had agreed to doing one thing but that one thing quickly multiplied in the form of by-the-way tasks attached to the original request. Because I totally agree with the portion of Kein's post about saying no: "do not say yes and subsequently waste everyone's time by not doing it", and because I've been taught these 20 odd years that we have to deliver what we promise, I ultimately follow through the task, albeit with a lot of unhappiness on my part.
Buddies advised me not to feed the monster by agreeing to things that I'm not comfortable with, because that will only make the requesting party think I'm ok with it and I'll never see the end of it.
Now, I often click on the links posted by Kein on Facebook simply because there is always just a one word instruction - "read" or "watch". That made me realize something basic. People often take action when you instruct them to, and people act the way you want them to. And buddies were right - by not saying no I'm leading the requesting party to think that it's ok to request or demand. While most people have the self realization to not overstep their boundaries and give others space and respect, we certainly can't expect everyone to be the same. In some cases we just have to tell people exactly how we want to be treated.
So I started practicing the art of saying no. Growing up with the notion that we have to do what we are told to, it wasn't so easy at first. But you know what? It's been alright. There's been no nasty drama, no excessive tension, no raging winds and lightning bolts. In some cases it just becomes a negotiating game. And it works. This week I just said no to a ridiculous request. I was glad I took a little bit of time to process it, said no but offered an alternative that solves the problem within my comfort zone. I gave myself a little pat on the back. And that's growth right there.