Isn't it funny how some kids have no trouble saying no when they don't want to do something? My daughter is one of those kids. You may remember this little firecracker from my recent post: Strong Really is the New Pretty - Montreal Portrait Photographer.
Here's an example of a typical dialogue with her:
How about being nice to your brother? "No."
Can you eat the food I've prepared for dinner? "No."
Let me take just one picture of you, please?
"No, no and NO!"
Something strange happens as we age. We lose our ability to give a straight up NO as a response. It's normal -- we no longer think only of ourselves (as we so blissfully did when we were little), often we truly want to help, and lastly, putting others' best interests before ours is just what many of us were trained to do. We say yes, and then we agonize over the fact that we don't really want to do that thing we were asked to do. We complain at great length to our partners and our friends (ironically, never letting the asker know our feelings). We end up doing whatever we said we would do, but we make ourselves miserable over it. We end up just like all the other women who are afflicted with The Good Girl Syndrome.
A funny thing happens though, once you start saying no. You begin to lose the guilt. You begin to stop explaining yourself effusively every.single.time. You begin to feel free. If you're like me, you might feel a sense of pride in yourself for having the courage to make your own choices. Then the time comes when you are able to say yes, and you do it with pure + genuine pleasure. Because you want to. And that is an amazing feeling. Maybe we should all take a page from my daughter's book and learn to say no more often when it doesn't suit us. Although I didn't get the photos I wanted from her that afternoon, you can bet she turned around on her heels and walked into school with a smirk on her face + a feeling of satisfaction in her heart. As for me, I think I realized that these were exactly the shots of her that I wanted after all.