Saying Yes When You Want to Say No: Why We Do It & Then Resent It

In The Press

For years people have relied heavily on each other for survival. We have worked together to build shelters, to hunt and forage food, and to protect our young. And not much has changed today. Despite our access to millions of “How To” YouTube videos, we are still very dependent on others around us for valuable resources. The orbitofrontal cortex is responsible for reading human emotion and anticipating social rewards. When we say yes to others, our brain is urging us to connect as a matter of survival, and during the pandemic, when we are craving connection more than ever, we are especially prone to saying yes, when it does not serve us.

We are often compelled to say yes because we are wired for survival and for socialization. We anticipate rewards as a result of our interactions with others. Even if we don’t immediately gain tangible resources, we may actually be in pursuit of feeling accepted, earning the favor of others, or we are simply taking advantage of an opportunity to prove how charitable and generous we are. But these rewards are intangible, immeasurable, and short-lived. The downside is that saying yes often leads to resentment, anger, and a sense that we are investing in others without having our own needs adequately met. Click to see full article, written by Dr. Laura Beth Cooper.

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