Sunday, January 04, 2009

Taking Care of Self = Losing Patience with Others

Not others who "matter" per se - like, not people I actually know - but... others. In particular, I'm finding that I have little patience with doing tasks that involve responding to other people, when it seems the other people to whom I'm responding didn't put in their best effort (a) or didn't follow my directions in the first place (b). Now, I've never been a terribly patient person. In fact, I'm not patient, at all. So losing patience when you're not a patient person? Yeah, that's kind of not cool. It means what tiny bit of power my internal censor had is now shot to hell and what tact I used to aim for feels like it's impossible.

I'm sure that this won't last forever. It just so happens that the new year corresponds with PMS week, so it may be that I'm just bitchy for now and that I'll move through the bitchiness back into the normal zone. But if not? Well, I'm going to have to learn to say no more frequently and more forcefully, because if I keep saying yes to idiots, I will end by making a lot of enemies, I fear. So, perhaps the taking care of the body business and putting oneself before other things does actually produce the very results that the goal aims to produce, for it turns out that although I did not resolve to say no more frequently, I'll have to do so if I don't want people to hate me for being a meanie. This is kind of awesome.


Virginia S. Wood, PsyD said...

Yep, saying "yes" to things like working out, reading for pleasure, eating better--that does require saying "no" to other things. And doing it without biting people's heads off requires practice. It's empowering, though, and therefore ultimately fun! You're gonna love it!

Saying "yes" when you mean "no" is a prescription for angry outbursts and/or building resentments. A trick I learned for avoiding that is to (a) try not to answer one way or the other right away--ask the requester for time to think about it, and (b) when I've already said "yes" and realized that was a mistake, to go back to the requester and say, "I spoke too soon when I told you I would [whatever]... sorry, won't be able to do that after all. Nope. No, sirree."

It's bad form, not to say awkward, but it beats being mad or resentful, and you won't have to do it too many times before you learn not to say "yes" in the first place!

I sometimes advise people, just for practice, to say "yes" to three things that they would ordinarily deny themselves, and "no" to three people they would normally accede to, per week until they get the hang of this.

Have fun!

undine said...

I've been thinking about the same things and have been irritated lately by responding to people (unreasonably so).