People Pleasing and the Art of Saying No-Otherwise Known as the Pretzel Effect

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While speaking with a client recently she brought up how good she used to be at doing the "pretzel dance". That is, twisting herself up into a pretzel, bending over backwards, trying to make something work for someone else, before she would ever even think of saying "no".

Saying yes and working it out somehow, because "it's the right thing to do. It's the decent thing to do. Because, I can do it, it's just a little (no actually A LOT) inconvenient."

Basically depriving herself of what was right for her, putting others first, but then feeling a sense of frustration and resentment that they didn't fully "appreciate" what she had done. I get it. Hand raised high...I've been that girl! 

It got me to thinking what is it about having ADHD tendencies that can lead us to say "yes" all of the time? What is it about people pleasing that makes us say "yes" all of the time? 

I think it comes down to fear. Fear of what someone may think if we say no. Fear of what it means if we put ourselves and our needs first. Fear of being perceived as selfish or bitchy. I know that was part of it for me. I really wanted people to like me. Wanted everyone to like me.

That's impossible.

I think it also comes down to control. Trying to control the situation. Expecting to know if we do this, they'll do that. Of course they will, because we're being so "giving", right? 

The truth is we have no control over what others think. It can be freeing to let them think whatever they want to think about us. They will anyways. 

I'm starting to learn what it feels like to be myself, truly myself.

The truth is I'm kind a lot of the time (in my opinion).

Most of the time, I will help when possible, because I want to...and can...and it feels good.

But when I can't, I will say so. I will know beyond knowing that my intentions are good, and if I could I would, but I'm so sorry I just can't right now. I've said it more than once in the past week and it feels strange and good. Like I trust that I have my back, as well as the back of those that I care about.

It's freeing to commit to honesty with others and myself. No keeping things back. 

Kindness and honesty.

~Shaun