How a banana boat made me realise it's ok to say no!

Jan 23, 2018

There has been a lot of material written about giving yourself permission to do things in life as a woman – about being yourself. 

This in turn can exert pressure to be this go getting, adventurous person, action girl etc, and while I agree with this and that we shouldn’t let ourselves be held back by feelings of not being good enough, fear of embarrassment and worrying about what others think, it is also acceptable not to do things.

saying yes with new found confidence

Having, over the last few years been on a mental “journey” of self- acceptance and finally reaching a place where I think I’m OK, I have found a new confidence to participate in more physical activities and overcome the “fear” that often held me back.  Not necessarily fear of the activity itself but fear of looking stupid, not being able to do it etc. 

This in turn has led to me feeling like I have to have a go at everything that comes my way.  I came to this realisation on holiday last Summer.  The rest of my family wanted to have a go on the banana boat ride and I was feeling like I had to join in too, even though I didn’t really want to. 

I’d had a go in my early 20’s and hated it so why was I feeling this pressure to do it again? 

After thinking about why I didn’t want to take part and checking myself to make sure it was not for any reasons of self-doubt I resisted the attempts at persuading me and still said no.

Reflecting later I realised I’m not a speed lover, never have been.  I was never the child who free wheeled down a hill on a bike – I always had the brakes on.  Fast cars don’t do it for me – granny mode all the way.  That’s me and that’s fine. Get me on a mountain and I’ll fight my fear of heights and fear of physical limitations to get to the top; on a kayak I’ve got over the worry of falling in the water and not being able to get back in the boat – these are activities I enjoy.

Thus, an innocuous activity like going, or not going, on a banana boat made me realise it is still OK to say no.

I must check in and think about why I’m saying no.  No was my default position for so many years it’s just important to make sure when I say it now it is for valid reasons.

Do you ever feel pressure to say yes to things you don’t really want to do? Let me know how you deal with it.

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