Blog of the Month - The Damaging Negativity of “I Don’t Mind”

“I don’t mind” came from a place of love and caring, a space whereby we wanted to make each other happy. But, as we all know, it is never that easy to make everyone happy all at the same time, someone, somewhere, will be compromising (potentially).

Many of us will answer “I don’t mind” to a vast array of questions. From what we want for dinner, for what we want to do.

The reason that most of us will say 'I don't mind' a lot is probably because we think it's the more pleasant response when posed with a question. Rather than forcing everyone to do what we want, we instead pretend that we don't have an opinion in order to ensure that everyone else is happy. 

How sweet. 

On other occasions you can't decide what to do for the best and don't want the responsibility of making the wrong choice, so you say 'I don't mind' thereby giving someone else the job of making that decision.

Actually though, this tends not to be how things play out. For starters, there's a very real chance that everyone will say they don't mind, which then slows things down and prevents you from making any progress and usually results in one of the worst outcomes. Now you've just inconvenienced everyone else and ended up doing something that no one wanted to do… great!

Alternatively you say you don't mind, the other person then gives their opinion, and so you default to doing what they want instead. That then means that you don't get to do what you wanted to do, and in some scenarios you may even end up resenting them for that. Which is pretty nuts really when you failed to provide an alternative option…

Does ANY of the above sound familiar?

Well, in the Hearsey household this was, and still is, very much a part of our upbringing. In fact, we will now kind of laugh about it as we still catch each-other out doing it in restaurants, or trying to choose the restaurant in the first place!

The Art of Pleasing People

On the one hand, the “I don’t mind” came from a place of love and caring, a space whereby we wanted to make each other happy. But, as we all know, it is never that easy to make everyone happy all at the same time, someone, somewhere, will be compromising (potentially).

But here is the thing with constantly doing it…..

If you keep saying “I don’t mind” then you might well come across as though you don’t feel you value your own opinion enough to share it – or that you don’t feel you’re entitled to a vote. 

This can eventually change the way that others see you, act around you, treat you, and even lead you to actually believe that about yourself - that your opinion doesn’t matter.

But the silly part about that is no one did it to you, you did it to your-self!

Speaking Your Mind

'I don't mind' is essentially conflict avoidance taken to the extreme, and if you don't stop it now, then you'll possibly find yourself coming off worse in the vast majority of discussions. IN terms of career and business, many of my clients then start to mention how they feel like they come across as being completely incapable of making decisions - especially when it counts!

And the crazy part is that there's actually nothing impolite at all about speaking your mind and saying what you'd prefer. 

Here is one simple twist on words that you can start to use that might help….

Instead of 'I don't mind', try: 'I'd prefer we had the lasagne tonight, but I'm open to other options'. 

There you go, that wasn't so hard was it?

Okay, okay, I know that change isn’t easy BUT we all have to start somewhere, and if decision making is holding you back, start to focus in on the language you are using and HOW you are responding to those questions that bring your “I don’t mind” responses.

This will take practice!

As I mentioned, many times these instinctive responses have been ingrained in us since, what feels like, birth. It will take mindfulness, time and practice to make the changes.

Here are Three ways to teach yourself to be more decisive and move away from the “I Don’t Mind”

1. Identify and understand your own decision-making process. Understand what factors influence your decisions, such as emotions, logic, advice, and research. 

2. Make a list of pros and cons to help guide your decisions, even if it is in your mind. This can help you weigh up the potential benefits of each option and make a more informed decision. 

3. Practice making small decisions. Start by making simple decisions, such as what to have for lunch or what movie to watch, to help you get used to the decision-making process. As you become more comfortable, move on to bigger decisions.

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Kerry Hearsey
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