If I gave you a thousand dollars and told you that you could only use it to buy a tattoo of my choosing – even if you hate the tattoo – would you say yes? Probably not.
So why is saying and accepting the word “no” such a big deal? because people want what they want when they want it, and when they don’t have it they expect you to provide it for them, and often they don’t think about how forcing you to say yes is going to affect you. Largely because they don’t care.
I was raised in a house where it was expected that I do what I was told, when I was told, there wasn’t argument, there was just do it. This built up a lot of resentment, because a lot of times I just wanted to be a kid, instead of taking pills that made people think I was more acceptable to their desires.
I also grew up in a house where I had to lie to everyone I loved about who I was and what I was doing, when I was in my hyper sexual phases I didn’t say no a lot. When a guy came onto me, as I’ve said before, I rarely pushed him away, because I wasn’t comfortable saying no to the guy.
On the rare occasions I did say no, the result was a fifty fifty mix of them actually listening to me, and them outright ignoring me. It just depended on the guy, how much he’d had to drink, and the situation that we’re in.
Learning to say no is empowering, when we’re kids and our parents teach us that we shouldn’t hit, or yell, or be nasty to each other or those around us, they are instilling in us, skills that will help us respond more maturely as adults.
When we grow up in situations that traumatize us however, we don’t always learn the skills to help us cope as adults and we have to relearn the skills that most people learn in childhood.
The thing that matters the absolute most is that when you lash out at other people, you have to recognize that you’re responding to something that has triggered a traumatic response, and it doesn’t always have to be as complicated as getting arrested.
Sometimes it’s something as simple as the way a butterfly flaps it’s wings, so when someone says “do you want to take a hike to a far off place filled with heights” your internal clock screams “no”. But say you do it anyways because you want to impress them or because you’re afraid of looking like a dork for saying no, and then a trauma response is triggered, how do you explain that?
It’s not easy for people on the outside to understand triggers and triggered responses, largely because it’s something that the scientific community is just starting to figure out itself.
It’s only in the last ten or fifteen years that people started to realize that you didn’t have to be a soldier to experience PTSD, trauma comes from all different areas of life, and now that we’re starting to recognize that, we can start compiling the tools to deal with it.
Saying no is one of those tools, it’s an incredibly powerful tool, and I am only just now starting to realize how important it is.
I’ve been saying no a lot lately, mostly to things that are in my past, because I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes again, but also and mostly because I just have absolutely no interest in the things that didn’t make me happy the first time.
I’ve also been saying no because I am in this place where as chaotic as my outside world is, this blog makes sense to me. This blog and everything that I am trying to build makes more sense to me than anything ever before has in my life, and I don’t want to give it up for opportunities that will distract me from what I am doing.
Yes that means on missing out on people, places, and things, that I might not see otherwise, but I feel like in my gut I would know if saying yes were the right thing for me.
If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it, is a mantra that I’ve been living with lately. It’s a lesson I wish I had learned more as a teenager. I was always doing things that didn’t feel good because I didn’t know that fitting in wasn’t what I wanted to do anyways.
When you’re surrounded by the right people fitting in isn’t something you think about, which frees up a lot more time to just be yourself and actually have fun with your life.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall