02 November 2022

Say yes to say no

How strong should your bond be with someone before it's natural to unencumbered say "no" to someone's request; and if your “no” is respected even without motivation? Saying no in my life was loaded and often more difficult than saying yes. Recently I have experienced that something fundamental has changed in that area, which I would like to share with my readers.

In my childhood

As a child, as well as an adolescent, I had difficulties to say “no” if I didn’t want to do something that others expected from me. That became even more difficult when there was spawning and seduction. I soon got the feeling that that's why I should do it for that person.

My difficulty with saying “no” more than once degenerated into defiance and sometimes even into impotent resistance through aggression. I hardened and isolated myself. I didn't want or couldn't explain why I want or didn't want something. Sometimes I just didn't know why, and my environment had to learn to live with that, was apparently my view at the time. I often felt misunderstood and rejected. That was true on more than one occasion, but I was not able to get others to see it.

After my youth

After my childhood the aggression disappeared and the rebelliousness softened. That didn't mean I was more willing to say yes, nor did I explain better why I wanted to participate or not. No, the rebelliousness did not change in the connection, but in keeping the distance from others. Of the individual and of the group. So I became more and more solitary.

The moments in my youth when I did want to participate and could say yes, were the moments when I did manage to connect with others. I felt involved and valued. That, of course, sometimes caused friction. After all, I felt that people wondered why I was so nice and involved and otherwise so unaccommodating. That sometimes felt strange to me. Still, I didn't want to or couldn't change it.

I then learned not to motivate why I did or did not want something. With that I closed myself off and isolated myself from the others, while I also wanted so badly to be appreciated and liked. In fact, this often led - especially with larger decisions - to make a choice without a good analysis of the pros and cons. That was risky and sometimes led to ill-considered choices, the choice of my marriage being perhaps the most important example. I did not foresee the consequences of it and therefore did not know whether I really wanted it.

That pattern repeated itself in my life. As I got older I started to do more and more things thoughtlessly and against my will for others. I also kept doing things against my will for longer and longer. I think I did that because I still got the appreciation and felt liked.

At the present

As I mentioned, something fundamental has now changed. It has everything to do with my life in Malta with Szilvia. We had a lot of fights over the most basic topics. For five years a struggle that actually turned out to be a longing. We should have left each other perhaps ten times, where we only did it about five times.

Does this have anything to do with learning to say “no”? Yes, that has everything to do with it. The growing strong connection with Szilvia created confidence in myself. Through the longing for each other, which manifested itself in our ongoing struggle, I opened myself more and more. I learned to express myself better, to indicate what I did and did not want and why. From Szilvia I experienced an increasing understanding and respect for my views, beliefs and wishes etc. and that in turn strengthened my confidence in myself.

This is how Szilvia and I found the way to a powerful connection with love and patience. That gave me great self-confidence and that was the key to learning to say “no” unencumbered and that to everyone. I can and dare to indicate clearly motivated what I do and do not want. I no longer fear condemnation, rejection and abandonment. A blissful feeling with a meaning to the future! To be continued……

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