This goes back to the time when I was teaching. I had moved into a new job just around the time of mid-term examinations and was trying to get a hang of things. There was a colleague who was teaching the same subject and classes. Since most of our work was in unison, we were assisting each other on almost all the aspects. But it wasn’t long enough when I found myself doing most of his work- from setting papers for every term to making outlines of submissions to mailing syllabus bifurcations.
I may have never deliberated on it, if I hadn’t found myself working over time for no reason. It took me weeks of contemplation and a fair amount of courage to confront the situation. How I resolved the issue at hand, will be another story, some day.
But reflect upon it. I have often found myself in a place where my mind is constantly telling me- No, No, No, No. And yet, I choose to finally utter a big YES, only to put myself into more trouble, more work, more frustration and a whole lot of mental harassment sometimes. So, what makes me want to be agreeable all the time?
Since childhood, we are given lessons in kindness. I was in a convent for ten good years. In school they focussed greatly on high moral values and being nice to people and not disappointing them was one such lesson taught to us. Although, I do place these teachings in high regard, I slowly learnt that it was essential to be kind to myself first.
I was mostly scared of saying no to people because of the fear of being abandoned or left-out. It was a kind of character certificate. If I said no, I would probably be in bad books. I maybe regarded rude or unhelpful. Who wants to be disliked, anyway?
As children we are taught to be agreeable. Most of our lessons deal with never saying no to elders. We begin to associate the word with ostracization. Even in school morning assemblies or soft-boards, being obedient is a primary lesson. Interestingly, a lot of grammar books in our time that taught letter writing, used the subscription- “Yours obediently”.
Hence, as we grow up, we start equating saying no with disobedience. Whereas, I believe it is only a way to exercise your choice to accept or unaccept something.
I certainly do not mean to advocate that saying yes is absolutely disastrous and that nobody should be helping nobody. I just feel that if saying yes makes you uncomfortable for a week or a month; if you take it as a burden and keep cribbing that you have to do it; if it gives you sleepless nights and a lot of mental mumblings- believe me, it is not worth it. Not even being in the best of books!
Finally, saying no is difficult but essential at times. What is tougher is accepting when a no comes your way and seeing it as a choice somebody decided to make and, not necessarily seeing it as a blow to your ego.
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This article is my entry for Blogchatter’s AtoZ Challenge 2019- Alphabet N. My other entries may be read here.
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