The oldest, shortest words, ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ are those that require the most thought. Pythagoras (died 495 BC)
When overwhelmed, flooded with the feeling that I can’t get it all done, I recognize that I have slipped back into the land of people-pleasing and said YES to too many things. People-pleasing is doing things that you can do, but don’t really want to…we put other people’s requests, desires and wants above our own. I’ve created some first principles around people-pleasing:
- You cannot make everyone happy.
- Do not trust your heart or well-being to people who go low.
- Just because we can do it, does not mean we ought to….
- A good life depends on disappointing others, regularly.
- We can say NO to the request, but YES to the person.
Many of us wisely place relationships at the center of our lives and so we hesitate saying NO. We may fear that saying NO will damage the relationship in some way, don’t know how to say NO, or don’t think we have the power to say NO.
The technique which softens the blow is the opposite of improv’s “YES .. AND.” We can say NO to the request but YES to the relationship, enter the “NO….BUT….”.
- I can’t work late tonight, BUT I can come in early. It’s important for me to help out.
- You can’t come up to my apartment tonight, BUT I had a great time and would like to see you again.
- I can’t loan you money, BUT I can help you come up with a financial plan.
- I can’t volunteer for PTA president, BUT I can make a generous donation this year.
This takes serious practice, like building your biceps, get your reps in. My challenge to every overwhelmed, over-deployed person reading this: Say “NO…BUT” at least 3 times over the next week. Let us know how it goes… respond below.
More on How to Stop People Pleasing
From one of my favorites at The School of Life.
A Fun Way to Take Psych 101
(you probably need an update)
My current favorite podcast, Psych with Paul Bloom and David Pizarro. They are both psychology professors and teach Psych 101. The podcast covers a wide rang of topics that they teach in their classes A fresh update on we know (and don’t) about the human mind. A fascinating listen especially if you have not taken psych 101 in decades or ever.
Summarized Self Help Book Advice
Distilled down to 11 simple but not easy bits of advice. My favorite? “Sleep, exercise, eat, chill out. Repeat.” Read the article here
Quote I’ve been pondering
The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end, finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Stay Well and let us know how your “NO…BUT…” Is working.