“We must say “no” to what, in our heart, we don’t want. We must say “no” to doing things out of obligation, thereby cheating those important to us of the purest expression of our love. We must say “no” to treating ourselves, our health, our needs as not as important as someone else’s…”
― Suzette R. Hinton, author of The Sound Of My Life.
As a practising physician, I see a lot of misery and struggle, conflict and self-doubt. It can be quite dangerous, as I have written elsewhere. The person who tends to get cancer—the so-called “cancer personality”—is someone who gives little priority to self, is a people pleaser, self-effacing and overburdened with care for others.
Basically such a person has no life of their own; she (usually female) is so busy running around after other people, she has no time for her own needs and desires. Yet such a person will rarely complain. They bottle up their frustration and that’s what is dangerous. Stress has to come out some way or other. If it doesn’t come out with yelling and demanding attention, it just manifests in a different direction: typically a disease, such as blood pressure, heart attack, or the dreaded cancer.
A little known study carried out some years ago looked at this issue and found certain women had a great deal of trouble saying “No”. Even if what was demanded was something she didn’t like, even hated, she would go ahead and comply anyway. But this is an act of injury against the self. It may be justified as duty or “helping others” but it is still an injurious willingness to ignore the self and its needs.
Saying NO reduces stress considerably!
The researchers took the typical cancer personality case and had the woman practice saying “No!” to things she didn’t like, and sticking to it. The results of this intervention were startling. The women who said NO (and meant it) lived many years longer, on average, than those who could not bring themselves to do it. Continue reading