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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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It is Okay to Say No!

September 2004

 

“Why don’t they love me? I do everything for them, why doesn’t my husband, children, boss, co-workers, parents, siblings, etc love me?” I have often had people ask me that question. Women in this society in particular have been trained to be more focused on others than we have on being focused on ourselves. If we take care of everyone else, then they will love us.

And yet, it doesn’t work. Typically what happens when we are all giving is that people stop respecting us. If we say, “let me give to you everything that I have and I do not need anything”, people won’t give us anything. People will happily take. Not because people are mean, but just because they are human. If we tell people, by our actions, that it is not necessary to take care of us, then they will not. If you are upset because people are treating you badly, then change the expectations.

 

When someone asks you for something that you do not want to do, say “No”. Do not apologize for it. Do not explain it. Just say with a smile, “Oh, no, I am unable to do that.” Then take all the energy and money that you have been spending on others, and spend it on you! Who knows what you might come up with, but think of all the things that you have been wanting to do. You will be able to do them if you give to yourself instead of everyone else.

 

I am not saying that you should never help someone else out. Help when it feels like the right thing for you. Do not help when it is hurtful for you.

 

What will come from this is that people will begin to give to you as well, they will respect you, and, perhaps, they will even love you! Enjoy the journey.

 

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