The Stress of Yes and No
At the heart of most stress-filled experiences is a premature or, at the very least, a half-baked yes. We can all relate to finding ourselves in a situation where, once fully immersed, we question how or why we got there. Recall the times you’ve agreed to do something and later regretted it so much that you went to great lengths to crawl your way out of the promise.
According to “The Zoe Report” in the HuffPost, a common explanation might be, “I am a people pleaser,” but that is an oversimplification. “People-pleasing is not only about repeatedly saying yes, it is also about all of the things you don’t say or do in order to avoid conflict.” The article helped me understand that when we say yes, we are also saying no to alternate possibilities.
It’s important to wrap our minds around this truth since it can save us and people we know from disappointment and turmoil. Whether we tend to say yes or no, our tendency typically applies to every decision—from simple ones like whether to contribute to a potluck at work, to life-changing ones like whether to change careers.
I recently heard about a woman who said yes when her boyfriend proposed, though her gut told her the relationship had ran its course. In praying about and analyzing the situation, she recognized that her acceptance of the proposal came from the pressure she felt society was putting on her and from her own fear of accepting the relationship’s failure, inflicting pain on others, and being alone. Ultimately, saying no would mean she would have to embrace her own internal conflicts, something she had neglected to acknowledge until this analysis. Thankfully for everyone’s sake, she overcame her fear and ended the relationship. Later, when she entered the sacrament of marriage with someone else, she did so with a full understanding of the commitment and joy it encompasses.
It is important to never overpromise and underdeliver. When you have to make a decision, give yourself and others who are involved the gift of time to assess all aspects of it. Pray about it. If you say yes, know what you’re also saying no to, and vice versa. Maintain a big-picture lens to avoid the stress of finding yourself in a less-than-desirable situation.