Sunday, 14 July 2013

Telling the truth. Or, "No."

I pride myself on my honesty, but there's one area in which I let myself down. It's when I mean to say, "No" but end up saying "Yes" instead. I hate myself for it, not so much for the dishonesty of it, but because I know that my reason for lying is to be agreeable, not to hurt someone's feelings, not to make a big thing out of "it".

The problem is that the "it" usually refers to my own needs. I'm  not talking about the white lies where, when someone asks me, "Do I look nice in this?" I answer with a yes, even though I think they look awful/fat/ridiculous. I mean the times when someone asks me to go somewhere or do something that I don't really want to do, and I say yes knowing full well that I ought to be replying with a sentence that includes the phrase "over my dead body".

I thought about this last night, when a long-lost friend invited me to dinner and I said yes. She has a dog. I have a phobia of dogs. It's not going to happen. I know that. But I still said yes.

Why do I do this? I'm not a child who has to keep the grown-ups happy. Half my life is over (maybe more, but I hope not). And yet here I am after all this time, menopausal and saggy, and still feeling the need to please, and NOT seeing that I have the right to say No. Regardless of whether it is a reasonable No, or an illogical phobia-induced No, it is still my right to say it:  No.

I like to think that after years of therapy and introspection and self-work, I have learned to say No to a lot of things:  dangerous thing, abusive things, things that I consider immoral or unethical. But yesterday's struggle to say No tells me I still don't consider myself fully worthy of that right.

The other day while reading, I came across something a child sex offender said about one of his victims:  I killed who she might have been.

I need to work harder on my resurrection.


Barb Schanel said...

We learned this lesson again this week when we almost lost our pups (sorry about the dog reference)because their mother, who we accepted as favor for a friend, led the pups running for over a day.

There will be no more taking on of other people's dogs, no matter how much they beg.

Shivani Singh said...

Wow this post of urs touched a chord and I feel connected. Thanks to Richa who guided me to ur true world. Quite a few days back I had done a blog too on similar lines titled ' Aruna Needs No More' many of my blogs include to get over with this mania called appeasement. And just like u I am still working on it.
A straightforward person I am often misunderstood for my honesty. And when I lie it could be for various reasons. One u have aptly mentioned. What I'm trying to work upon is when I lie out of fear. How about u? Pls talk to me about this. Talking and relating is therapy too.
Nice to know u...will be back for more. Thanks for sharing this. :)

Art Earth Ink Soul said...

Shivani - thanks for all the comments, glad you visited and liked my blog. I popped over to yours too, and searched for the post you'd mentioned "Aruna Needs No More" read through quite a bit of it (but will be honest here and say I did not read it all as it was extremely long!) So true how little we value ourselves compared to others. I think it's not impossible, but quite hard to overcome, because right from childhood we're told stories of how great it is to sacrifice for others, service before self, etc. I think the problem is that a person needs to be complete within themselves before they can start trying to be Gandhi or Mother Teresa. Otherwise our sacrifices aren't acts of love, they are acts of duty, obligation or fear. That's my take on it, anyway.

You asked me about lying out of fear. I don't think I've ever lied out of fear of getting into trouble (though I must have in childhood, but can only remember one incident!) I think most of my lies are out of the fear of hurting someone else's feelings, fear of not being a good enough person/daughter/sister/friend/colleague .. two concepts, freedom and truth, have been very important right from my childhood, but I realise now I have been excluding myself from them, putting everyone else's before mine.

Anonymous said...

there is nothing wrong in being good and wanting to please others cuz by pleasing them your not hurting them . you said yes to your friend cuz you want to see them and your welling to take the risk of you phobia to be with them i say your being an amazing friend .

Art Earth Ink Soul said...

Thanks, Anon, but I think you misunderstood. I don't say yes for the reasons you suggest. I say yes to end the "please come over" conversation, even though I have no intention or ability to go anywhere near a house with a dog!