I have this issue that I’d like us all to discuss today. It’s called the yes man mentality. Certainly, the internet probably calls this something like “being the world’s bitch”, but I think “yes man” is more family friend.
Anyways, It’s a disease. I have it.
My entire life has been a series of putting myself second, third, or fourth. This has taken place pretty much in every aspect of my being. It’s taken place at work, where I spent 17 months being the “yes man” to a person who doesn’t know how to treat a woman, much less manage a company. It’s taken place in friendships, where’d I’d burn myself to the point of being unable to follow them on social media, because I let myself come second to their problems all the time. It’s happened in my marriage, and before it was a marriage, where I would literally apologize for something that wasn’t my fault, in fear of Dylan being upset.
I mean, I’ve made myself the yes man so often that I’m now surrounded by people that expect me to jump at their beck and call, over everything and I’m destroying myself in the process.
I’m certain there’s a few people who are reading this that are like “yes girl, it’s a terrible, horrible, no good thing and I can’t stop.” I said that too, for 27 years actually. I am constantly told that putting other people first is just going to ruin me, and I’ve even blogged about it before saying that “this is who I am” or that “I won’t apologize for being a good person”. What I didn’t realize in those moments though, was that being a good person is NOT synonymous with being a door mat. If I turn and look at the things that I’ve been put through, by the people that I’ve trusted the most, it was a whole bunch of being used and abused for the convenience of someone else.
So. How do we “yes men” stop “yes men-ing”?
We literally just need to start saying no.
I know, easier said than done, but for real people, we need to. Well, maybe not you, but me. Give me a minute to explain before you all groan in unison. I don’t mean saying no in terms of “Do you want to hang out today?”. Let’s be frank here, we’re all fine with cancelling plans if it means we get to stay at home without pants. I mean the metaphorical no, which may not look like a no at all. I mean no, in terms of “benefiting anyone else but you”.
That’s a hard thing to explain on an internet platform, but let me try:
Example one: Your boss gives you a task that looks like it’s going to take you hours to complete. Let’s say, for shits and giggles, he asks you to order a singing telegram for a friend’s birthday. You are a. Not his assistant, b. Not done with your own job, and c. Not a fucking telegram order-er. The old Jen would (did) spend three hours Googling singing telegrams for a total stranger’s birthday that did absolutely nothing for her job. The new Jen would say no. But not a “no” as in, I’m not going to do this, a “no” as in “Boss, I’ve got my own tasks to complete, but I’d be more than willing to send you a few links of popular places in this radio market 72 sized metropolitan area that you can call while you’re on the phone like normal”. This is not only helping me, because I don’t need to spend my time being the yes man to an asshat, but said asshat is still getting assistance in their monotonous, pointless, seriously what the fuck task.
Example two: (This one is definitely not personal… Not that the first one was either *wink wink) You’ve got a boyfriend who you fight with, and often. The yes man mentality makes you apologize for things that aren’t your fault (okay, maybe that part is a little personal, but I can’t help it, that’s why we’re here). Your boyfriend knows that by throwing out a threat to leave, that it creates panic and will make you apologize more, resulting in a drained mental capacity on you, but your yes man mentality does everything you can to fix the situation, because it’s typical of the yes man to be a fixer. The “no” in this situation would be to leave. Not necessarily leave the relationship, but the situation. You are not responsible for someone else’s actions or words, and you certainly are not responsible to fix another person’s attitude.
I think that’s one of my biggest problem as the yes man. Not only do I do every single thing that’s ever asked of me, but I also spend a significant amount of time trying to fix, heal, band-aid things that aren’t my problem. By making it my problem though, I only hurt myself. It’s a weird, backwards, twisted mentality that only a yes man understands.
It’s like, I’d rather take someone else’s pain, and cause my own, than let them hurt and heal myself. Just like I’d rather take someone else’s problems, job responsibilities, personal issues, and apologize for, fix, forgive, and constantly wear on my shoulders rather than healing myself.
I’ve spent 27 years doing this. I’ve let anyone walk inside of my heart, stomp all over it, following behind them picking up the pieces of my own heart, while forigiving and healing them at the same time. It’s the immense compassion I have, the heart led face I put forward, and the way I was raised to treat every single person with respect and trust- even if I don’t know them.
But it’s going to change.
I can no longer be that person. Not because I don’t want to be, but because after nearly three decades of wearing other people’s problems as a coat, I’m tired. I’ve never once put myself first. Not once in my life. Never. You think I’m kidding, but you can ask literally anyone I’ve ever met. I’ll put a complete stranger in front of me. They could punch me in the face and I’d still apologize and make sure my face didn’t hurt their fist. My goal is to stop letting the world lead me, and to start leading myself. If I don’t like someone, something, somewhere- I need to learn to be a “no” person. Not just saying no, but also living it. Trusting in myself, and not anyone else until they build the trust. (Except for, I’m not sure that I can ever stop being compassionate for the entire planet, I can’t totally turn off my heart!)
Are you heart led? Are you a yes man? How do you handle it? Comment below and let me know if you’ve started to say “no” & how it’s changed your life!