Cognition & Reality

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

“No” Fun

Filed under: Uncategorized — drtone @ 12:06 pm

Saying “no” is notoriously hard for many people to do, at least some of the time. There is a simple reason for this: It makes us uncomfortable. If denying another person something he or she wants matters at all, it will not feel good. Possibly, I’ll feel guilty, because I owe the other person something or made a promise I can’t keep. I may feel sad, because I want the other person to have what he or she desires. Anger might predominate, because I believe that the other person has put me in an untenable position. Bottom line: It hurts.

Nevertheless, most of us react in puzzlement that the act of denying someone else’s wish should make us feel bad. We expect to feel cool and comfortable, NO MATTER WHAT, and hate anything that challenges those expectations. Reminding us, as it does, of the gap between fantasy and reality, having to say no engenders rage, a response that has little to do with the other people involved, but that can spill out onto them. Situations in which we must refuse a wish confront us directly with our struggle against the pain that life inevitably delivers. Thus, we twist and turn in avoidance or retreat into vagueness, impatient with our discomfort while waiting for the fun part, when the circumstances require a convincing utterance of the word “No.”

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