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Why It’s So Hard to Say No: Letting Go of Responsibility for Other People’s Emotions

We are social creatures. Not only that, at a time when the foundations of our social communication were being laid, when evolution prescribed emotions in our genes, it laid down such a wonderful emotion as guilt. It has the motivation to restore relationships with those whom we have harmed. That is, we experience guilt, and it drives us to apologize.

Basically, any emotion embedded in us has a motivational motive. Fear drives us to run and hide, anger drives us to attack, thrill makes us play at http://wild-shark-slot.com more, guilt drives us to repair our relationship with someone.

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Why was this necessary? When we lived in tribes of 150-200 individuals (which is how many the brain can remember), the worst punishment was banishment from the tribe because it was the equivalent of death – one person did not survive then. Therefore, it was vital to maintain good relations with as many people from the tribe as possible, preferably all of them.

This mechanism, despite the past 120,000 years, sits in our genes. It’s impossible to make another person behave in a way that doesn’t please him – it’s simply life-threatening.

The naivete of this behavior is understandable. We are afraid of offending someone with our rejection because “they will think badly of me.” And the thought is unbearable for many.

Therefore, every human society creates a certain system of interaction of permitted, conditionally permitted and impermissible methods of communication. For example, allowed are the habits of greeting, not using obscene language, not humiliating a person and not expressing obviously negative things about him/her, etc. That is, there is a certain set of rules. And the problem with refusals arises when it seems to someone that this code isn’t enough.

It’s not enough to say, for example, “I’m sorry, I don’t agree with you,” or “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to.” Some feel that the mere fact of refusing will cause us to be treated negatively. It turns out that we become endlessly hostage to agreeing, not arguing, conceding.

And you have to learn to understand that the interests of the other person are no better than your personal interests.

To figure out what to do – to refuse the person or to agree with them – give yourself a five-second pause. And in that time, ask yourself an important question: “Will what I’m about to do bring me closer to what’s valuable to me, or will it put me further away?”

The question arises, “What I’m about to do – what is it for me?” And if you agree, give in to an argument, give up your rights, your principles, and your desires to stop being afraid, that’s a big deal. Such behavior means that fear has taken control of our lives and behaviors, dictating how to live. And it cannot dictate good things.

It is impossible to say no to a person so that he or she is guaranteed not to be offended. This other person is a universe with his own interests, preferences, background, and cockroaches in his head.

You can say as diplomatically as possible – “I really want to fulfill a request, but now it is impossible” – and he will still take offense. Or you can say in the same way, “No. I will not do it,” and he won’t be offended. So, to set yourself the task of not offending the person – an impossible task. You can’t be responsible for someone else’s emotional response.

To protect yourself, remember that there is a well-known consensus – how to speak politely. Everyone uses it, and that’s enough. If you’re really scared, you can put the word “sorry” in front of your rejection. “I’m sorry, you’ll have to find someone else to deal with this problem.”

But this “sorry” is unnecessary – it doesn’t change anything. The person does not become more benevolent, he will not stop pressuring you, trying to manipulate you.

So the most important thing to remember is that your interests are above the other person’s interests, your values are more important than the other person’s values.

Ask yourself questions, use politeness to “sweeten the pill,” but don’t try to take responsibility for the other person’s emotions.

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