I have a confession

For quite sometime I have been dealing with a huge problem, but I had no idea. The bizarre thing about this problem is that most would think how could that even be a problem. It seems like it would be something that we all would want and even strive for. The challenge is when this problem kicks into overdrive it causes serious problems including self esteem, and for me just even dealing with the world. The problem stems from one word, and many people today have no clue how big of a problem just one simple word creates. That word is yes.

While yes by itself is not a problem, what stands behind it can be. If all that yes means for you is people will like me more, then you can relate to where I have been for most of my life. I sought out approval. I sought out the yes. You see for me it started at an early age, and is a story for another time, but in todays reality it has been a barrier. I lost my voice in the process of always saying yes. I lost my sense of balance. When you are always saying yes it becomes such a struggle to not get to such a high level of overcommitment that you have no where to turn. You begin to feel paralyzed at even calling a client and telling them of delays because you feel they won’t like you. You feel like you will have let them down. In reality you just are letting yourself down.

Saying no is tough because someone may not like us. In reality though we are just kidding ourselves. I struggled with this. How is it possible for someone to like us if we say no? I just did not understand it. Today I still struggle with it, but the reality is something that most of us forget about which is boundaries. We want to do so much that we get lost in the everythingness of just doing as much as possible, but in reality it is not a life worth living. It is living someone else’s life and not our own.

Enabling yourself to be happy and facing the dreaded no starts with your foundation. Who and what are you? Why do you exist? Why do you go to work? Why do you do what you do? Why are you?

For me the balance was shot. More work would be great. More income and better success. The reality is most of the time less is always more. Imagine if you are able to focus on just one thing today how much better you may be able to complete that task. Imagine if all you did today was focus on your relationship with your spouse, kids, relatives, or friends it will change your life. Saying no can help create balance and when you tell people that truly care about you that you need to think before you give them an answer it helps build respect.

I am not suggesting you say no to everything because remember your balance. Remember what matters most. Remember that life is not worth living by yourself, but with others around you and you certainly have to give back to whatever makes you who you are. The challenge for me though has been realizing that as long as I am treating each person with dignity and respect the no becomes less personal. My personal worth rests inside myself and not with others. I believe that for everyone. Find who you are and stop letting the no be so personal.

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  • Joe Duerst

    Hey Matt, I totally agree, and I discovered this problem a few years ago. Actually happily, I can say, whenever you asked me to help or work for you, you were always great and making me feel like my time and effort was valued and I never felt pressured to say Yes to you. I felt like you really did treat me fairly and I never left a job thinking I gave too
    Much or was cheated or anything. But for me, I definitely felt this more so in my romantic life at first, having compromised so many times to make my girlfriends happy. Also socially, having been punched in the face and not retaliating. Sometimes this is a good thing. Had I punched back, I may have ended up in jail. But I found while in law school and still doing videos on the side, that I would offer to videos for free to musicians that I really believed were great and that I could help expose them to the world, and they could give a shit. They wouldn’t even help to put together their own videos for free. Then once I did all this free work, they wouldn’t seem to care. So I realized saying yes to everyone doesn’t further anyone’s agenda, and ppl often take advantage of genuinely nice ppl

  • Joe Duerst

    To continue my post: once I became a lawyer, I realized that my time is more valuable than I believed, even before, and now I refuse to do projects I don’t personally want to do. I tell everyone I don’t do video anymore bc I’m tired of giving my effort to ppl who just want free or cheap work bc I wanted to say Yes. The same goes for my relationships. While it makes it harder at home, I feel better not saying yes to everything and standing my ground than Giving in at every conflict. I get it.