Just Say It. Say No.
I've always struggled with an inability to just tell people no.
Inevitably, this became a huge problem in my relationships. I was afraid of hurting people's feelings. If I rejected someone, wouldn't that make them hate me and harbor animosity towards me? I mean, who wants to look like the bad guy? It was as if I was consumed with this desire to be agreeable and to be liked by people.
I love saying yes, especially when it comes to keeping people happy. I'm a happy person, and I wanted to bring joy into my relationships, as well. I found myself going along with what my friends were saying, simply because I thought disagreement was a bad thing. Even rejecting advances from guys, who I knew I could never be interested in, became hard for me. I believed I should be accepting every opportunity that came my way. I should be saying yes to everything!
While I definitely believe in taking chances and opportunities, the inability to say no can quickly drag you down. Eventually I realized just how important saying no is.
In our culture we're taught to keep a rather compliant behavior. Compliance is defined as excessive agreement. We're often expected to agree with others just to “keep the peace”. We're expected to be nice to everyone. Our Western culture has taught us to put up a facade and not actually say what we're feeling.
People pleasing is in essence the desire or maybe even the need, to avoid conflict. I had to come to the realization that the want to please people was, in fact, lowering my standards.
Everytime I chose to say yes to something I knew I should've said no to, I was allowing an outside force to set my boundaries. I was choosing to allow someone or something else to make decisions for me, simply because I couldn't say that one, two letter word.
When we're unable to say no, we can't properly care for ourselves. When we're constantly worried about pleasing someone else, when we build false relationships with others, just because we want to be liked, an authentic relationship with yourself becomes impossible.
My inability to say no to people came from a lack of solidified boundaries. A lack of boundaries can tear down your individuality and steal your identity. Being liked isn't necessarily the same as being respected. Being liked is great, sure, but living your life, just to be liked, is a path that leads straight to a dead end. Trying to please everyone in your life is absolutely impossible and while it might give the other person confidence, where does it leave us? It leaves us in a place full of anxiety, and with a lack of self knowledge and confidence.
When we say yes to one thing, we're always saying no to something else. When you're saying yes to people who are only sucking away your time, your saying no to time for people who really matter. When you're saying yes to less than the best, you're settling, and saying no to your full potential.
What are your boundaries? What are you choosing to say no to today? Commit to doing less of what you shouldn't be doing and more of what you should be doing.
No is a powerful word. Use it.