By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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I read this quote recently (and don't remember where; sorry, author), and it hit a nerve with me.
How hard is it to say "No"? Pretty difficult for some of us, especially in certain situations. Overly easy for others. It also may be difficult to have "No" be a complete sentence. We may feel we need to offer an explanation. And we can. Or not.
I also think of this between people or in circumstances in which we find that we want to say No, but feel it might hurt another's feelings, or somehow diminish us in another's eyes.
Examples of these:
1) Dating. We've contacted each other, maybe even had coffee, and it doesn't seem like a good fit. So we need to say No to further contact. Do you think women have a harder time with this?
2) People at work are going out to a bar, and we either don't want to go at all, only want to go briefly, are in AA (places), or told our partner we'd be home at a certain time and adding in a trip after work doesn't fit with our prior commitment.
3) Spending time or money or both.
At times, we say Yes because it's the right thing to do, even if we wish we could say No. That's part of what makes this whole topic so tricky. There is no right answer here.
It is healthy practicing saying No, or Yes, or Maybe, and taking the time needed to decide what's best in different situations.
It is also healthy asking for things and being okay with hearing No, or Yes, or Maybe.
It actually makes it safer to ask for and to give to others when the answer is allowed to be authentic. Notice how often your answer is No, or Yes, or Maybe. Notice how come, with whom, and so on. Focus on learning more about ourselves and how we operate in the world.