When No is a Yes
Today I have been talking to Dr. Ron Dushkin, an excellent New York doctor of homeopathy. I have known him for ages and we exchange ideas, problems and advise each other.
Today I told him about my problem to say NO. Is it that I do not want to offend the other party, or is it that I do not want a confrontation?
Or is it that that I have learned to live with pain to survive. So better to accept what other people want and just accept even things I do not want.
But it is not very enjoyable and comfortable to behave this way because not only me, all of us, when we do not say NO and yield without really wanting to yield, we resent it. We hold it against the people that we believe put us in this situation, in a corner, not able to say NO.
When we feel victimized, there must be a villain and the person we did not say NO to is the villain.
Many times this designated villain does not even know we consider him or her a villain. They simply believe we said YES by not saying NO.
What to do? I asked Ron.
He had a “trick“ I liked and want to share it with you.
Saying NO to the other person is equivalent to saying YES to ourselves.
Let me repeat:
Anytime we say NO to something we do not like or want, we are actually saying YES to ourselves, to what WE want.
The insight for me was that I have difficulty saying NO to others because, not in spite of, I have difficulty saying YES to myself. In other words I do not count. I am not important.
AHA. “If I am not for myself who will be for me” is one of the rules of a Jewish sage.
Why do I consider the interests , wants, desires of others, my wife, my children, my clients more important than my own wants and desires?
Why, really why?
Ron says when people ask him to do something or to have his time and he does not want to do it , he says: “Sorry, I am not available.”
I thought it was not the best answer possible.
I suggested to say: “I wish I could do that, but I have a prior commitment.”
Commitment to whom?
To myself, darn it.
I have an appointment with myself. I have a commitment to take care of myself.
How strange I came to that conclusion at the age of seventy five. Why oh God, why do you make us wise so late and old so early?
Ron did another thing that in this case brought actually tears to my eyes.
I have real pain in my knees so he asked me to close my eyes, hug my hurting knee and thank my body. Thank it for everything it has done for me.
I got teary eyed. I realized how much this body of mine has done for me, taking a terrible beating with all my travel schedule, lack of sleep, eating terrible food, pushing it to the limit of its capability…and what have I done for my body? Very little. I take it for granted.
(Think about the analogy of management and workers. How much have the workers done for the company versus how much have the company done for the workers.)
I never think about what my body wants. Until it is in pain. Aha, then I notice it is there…
OH God why do you make us old so soon and smart so late…
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes