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I Don't Want To...
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i don\'t want to...

Oh what a delicious sounding phrase, both handy and emphatic. Who’s going to argue with it?

I’ve learned the joy of saying “no” and “I don’t want to.” It only took me a lifetime, or at least until now to have the courage to express it when I feel it.

Sure, I like to help folks when they ask for my help. And I’m thrilled to attend when invited places, like to dinner or to the theater. But let’s face it, in excess it can be a drain, even stressful, particularly if you are going through an introverted cycle.

Besides, who is imaginative enough to dream up all the excuses people use, all those nifty little thinly masked white lies to protect feelings, such as family dropped in from out of town, or you have a head cold, or the dog ate the paper, or you’re beating a deadline. Actually, the latter is usually true.

People see through excuses, so who are you fooling? I’d rather just come out with the truth and say I don’t want to go, or I don’t want to do that. You can smile when you say it.

At first it’s very shocking to the person you are addressing. They’re taken aback. Who actually says that? You might lose a friend or two. Don’t worry, the sturdy ones stick. The other ones will get over it in time.

They won’t know what to make of you at first. The ones with a good sense of humor, will laugh. Of course, you may not get another invitation, ever, and you run the risk of having the same stunt played on you. It’s okay because I love honesty. I’m a good cook, so they’ll be back. They know I mean no harm whatsoever and that I care about them very much.

You might get labeled “eccentric”.

I look forward to being a very, very old lady, so that I can be totally eccentric. When you are very old, you get away with murder, speaking your mind and flirting with everybody. Have you observed the comedienne Betty White? That woman says and does anything she wants.

What is my purpose for writing this article? I think it’s to share with you the joy of being brutally blunt. You will be so free. And why shouldn’t you be free?

Relationships get elevated to a high level when you say what you think.

Speak your mind. Have no secrets. Entertain no duplicity with your friends. You can be trusted.

Don’t be a victim of phony etiquette.

Practice the words “I don’t want to.”


Street Talk

Great article! So true, too. For me, my "no" got stomped on so many times in so many ways. Avoiding such people! And:-)saying no thanks to good people when there's not a fit. Love the way you put it here. Thanks. Good reminder for me.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Hi Cynthia, there comes a time when you realize you must stand your ground or your life will be used up by people who don't care or realize what they are doing. I've been doing some house cleaning of late, and it feels very good. I'm glad you are taking care of yourself in this regard.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Joan, Yep! Still recovering from abusive marriage. Right now literally in the process of a total cleansing of my mind and my body... since I went from divorce right into tornado version of swine flu, sliding immediately into lung infection, followed by repeated lung infections, deep depression, ptsd with massive flashbacks including one that ruptured an organ (that saved my life by finding a 5cm cyst and then finding dozens of tumors) even unrecognizable in biopsy stuff after major surgery, and on and on and on. Now is a brand new day. Your article really resonated with me yesterday on independence day:-) I'm on Day 24 of 90 of cleansing body slowly to detox -- and Day 7 of 'Master Cleanse' fasting... literally no food to detox. And!!! Hurray!!! Off all medications, including strong prescription drugs as well as over the counter non steroidal anti inflammatory to reduce inflammation and pain. Mind is clearing!! At last. Amazing to get to start a whole new life. Resiliency in focusing on the Lord and hanging on in prayer. thanks! blessings, Cynthia P.S. private note to you as future reader? if you are in an abusive marriage please leave. there's no really good way to do it, but as my attorney put it as a condition on taking my divorce case, tell your spouse when others are with you and then go and never be alone with your spouse ever again because people tend not to be an ass when there are witnesses... get help from safe people... including an attorney... and leave.

  
  about 7 years ago
  

Cynthia, that sounds like learning by way of the dark night of the soul. I'm happy to read that you are well on the mend. You've taken an inside out path to wellness. Congratulations. Coincidentally, I've heard about many abusive marriages lately. In every case, there has been some physical manifestation of the abuse. The person gets sick. One must walk out of one of those and not look back. It can be a bad marriage, abusive work situation, an unhealthy family relationship. It's toxicity. Very happy you are okay now Cynthia. Just another of life's lessons.

  
  about 7 years ago

Many lessons indeed! Thanks for a helpful article.

  
  about 7 years ago

Wow! this is awesome! I took me years to do this to. And OMG, it feels so damn good to say it. lol

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Sure does.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

it took me many years of being over extended emotionally to figure this out, but when I finally did, it was just so wonderfully freeing!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Me too Lacey. It's a kind of bondage. Great to be free.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Jon Moore  

This comes back to being yourself, which I think is 100% how we should all be. There are not very many people that I am really completely myself around, and those that I am are my closest friends. I'm still working on voicing the "I don't want to," but I'm getting better.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

It's such a relief to stick up for yourself in this way. Your real friends won't mind, and the rest will get used to it.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

My aunt was sitting in her room at the nursing home and looked at me, keep in mind she was not all there anymore due to brain cancer, and she said to me "I think I am going to die!" "I don't want to!" She was a very old lady who knew how to say it. Great article Joan!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

She found out that we don't really die, however, I don't blame her.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I will never forget that conversation. She is happy now and I am sure she is reunited with other spirits who went before her.

  
  about 7 years ago

That has been another very nice and important article. I had some difficulties in the pst saying no and now having learned to also go for i don't want to feels much much better. Thanks!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Maria, it'll change your life for the better.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Lemuel  

This is true. And learning how to say "I don't want to..." can also relieve stress.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

It does relieve stress. It's freeing.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I have an English friend who lives locally, she's ninety and still very sharp. When Mary says "I don't want to..." I appreciate her honesty. You know exactly where you stand with her. Good article Joan.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks Kim. You would probably appreciate her honesty at any age, so why do people emerge in their nineties? I was a real pushover until I got wise. Started out that way. Some people liked me better as a pushover.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
AnnMarie  

I used to be a pushover too, Joan. No any more! People like pushovers because they are easy targets to elicit sympathy and take advantage of...or worse surround themselves with sycophants because of a need for admiration and attention. Many adults have a peevish little kid inside which is sad.

  
  about 7 years ago
  

Ann, when you stop being a pushover, so many of them go away. Now what does that tell you?

Reply
  about 7 years ago
AnnMarie  

Thanks for writing this, Joan. More people need to understand that honesty and frankness are not bad traits. I am often accused of being too frank because I give my honest opinion with little to no sugar coating. I am not being mean but frankness is not always socially acceptable. Better to be open and honest than duplicitous which I am not and simply cannot be.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Hi AnnMarie, You can trust people who are frank. I would number you amongst my best friends. I respect blunt with no sugar.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Oh Joan, so often you type my words. I have learnt this in the last 2 years or so also. I decided I didn't need an excuse. My focus was if the 'responsibilities' and 'expectations' in life would stress me. I reached a point where I needed to look out for me and my own wellbeing. I began to simply say 'no'. It can be said nicely and with a smile, as you mentioned, and most people won't even question it. That would make them the rude person for prying. The only person I ever added more for was my husband when I told him I couldn't do this or that because I was aware it would create stress for me. He was very supportive (guess he likes me better not stressed). I've lost no friends. In fact I think we're all in a better space as my honesty has allowed them to theirs. Great article again Joan. Well said.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

That's wisdom Heather. It is definitely "freeing" to be candid. I think friends and family members appreciate it too. My niece used to make excuses when she didn't want to do something. I suggested to her that she didn't need to offer explanations. Just say no thank you. So now that's what she does, and it's fine.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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