Warning – this could be the most rambling post I have written and I am not sure it actually has a point…

I struggle with this one. I am one of those people who finds it really difficult to say “No” or even to suggest something that would be a compromise I am not sure why this is. I wish I knew, I think it would make my life a lot easier and less stressful at times. Since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and going on my pain management course, I have realised that it is more important than ever that I learn to say no, or rather give myself permission to say no.

Learning to say no

Why do I find it so hard to say no? Is my time or are my feelings less valuable than other peoples? Well in all honesty, whilst I do feel like my time and feelings are just as valuable and valid as everyone else’s, I act as if they matter less. I will agree to things I don’t want to do just to save other people’s feelings. I won’t mention my feelings in case I upset them. Why do I do this? Why is it ok for me to feel bad?

Maybe, sometimes, it’s for an easy life, after all it’s easier to go along with things than to suggest changes or to say no. I can’t stand conflict, so maybe in saying yes and feeling crap or pushing myself more than I should (and risking a flare up) I am avoiding conflict, so is it the better option for me? Or am I just fooling myself here, my family and friends are rational (for the most part) human beings. Surely I should be able to say no without feeling like I am causing a scene? After all, they have all changed plans for various reasons, so what’s wrong in me changing plans?

Do I feel that if I say no once then it will start a slippery slope for me to say no every time? (I am pretty sure that wouldn’t happen). Am I saving my noes up for when I really need them? (But do I have a finite number of noes? Do I think that other people have a finite number of noes before I have nothing more to do with them? Well, no I don’t – I am not counting – and surely no one else is either.)

The root of the problem is the standards I set myself, and the in balance between those standards and the standards I set everyone else. Why is there this in balance? I find myself wondering if things have really changed that much since my diagnosis. Have my self imposed standards changed, or am I just having more difficulty in attaining them. And more importantly should they have changed… surely I need to cut myself some slack right? I need to plan in those rest days, I need to give myself time to sort out my pacing. But I don’t. I am not kind to myself on flare up days, I find myself mentally berating myself, I should be… which inevitable leads to feelings of guilt and failure.

I thought I had accepted my diagnosis, that I had come to terms with the fact that life isn’t going to the way I planned it (whose does?!). And I honestly thought I had said goodbye to the me from before, the other me… the me I should be. But she is still here, lurking in those goals, those too high standards and my feelings of disappointment in myself when I can’t do what I am ‘supposed’ to be doing. I can see, logically, that I am setting myself up to fail, to feel even worse. I can’t meet those impossible standards. But I still haven’t wrapped my heart around the fact that setting the bar lower doesn’t mean failure. I really need to believe that my goals, are still worthy… that I am still worth something.

I need to start learning to say no. I need to learn to be kinder to myself. And most of all I need to learn to create goals and standards for me, not the old me, but the new me.