I am always growing, and I love to learn. Over the last six months, I have learned something about myself that I have been on a mission to change. As I begin to examine the behavior, I realized how much of a detriment it has been to my mental and emotional health. What is the behavior? I don’t always know how and when to say NO!
Doing my Soul Healing workshops, seminars and conferences over the past two or three years, this is something that I have told people over and over: “No is a complete sentence”. No means no. No without feeling guilty (and even if you do—do it guilty!). No without feeling as if you must add an explanation or an “escape clause” to make the other person feel better about the “no”. When the answer is no, it’s no!
Even though I was teaching this, I had to dig a little deeper within myself and process why it was so difficult for me to say “no” at times. As I sat with myself, I found the answer. I am extremely accommodating [cooperative, helpful, obliging, unselfish, generous]. Because I am a giver, a servant, and a helper by nature, I will self-sacrifice (this is not a good thing) to make you feel better. I cannot count the number of times in my childhood—where I learned this atrocious behavior—and in my adulthood where I have put myself and my needs on hold to accommodate other people. I will pause me (and my plans) to make sure you’re good. I will go without to make sure you have—and never complain, so you would never know.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to be a giver. It is honorable and Christ-like to sacrifice. But there must be balance! Jesus already died to save the world. Self-sacrifice is not the same as sacrifice and it causes an imbalance. This is where my mental and emotional health was tanking. I was ignoring my own health, wellness, feelings, and emotions and allowing/teaching others to do the same. This is learned behavior. It is also “people-pleasing”. It is not wanting others to feel bad, be upset with me or look at me in a negative light because I wasn’t able to accommodate them and their needs. It is exhausting!
Here is the good news! Anything that you have learned, you can unlearn! I have learned that you can’t say yes to everything. If you don’t say “no” to some things, your “yes” no longer has value. Sometimes “no” is necessary because you need a break. Sometimes “no” is necessary because you are on assignment. Sometimes “no” is necessary because takers wake up to take, and “no” places the boundaries in their appropriate place. Sometimes “no” is necessary because you need to consider your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This is not selfish. This is self-care! Self-care is not spa days, bubble baths, chocolate, and days off. Self-care is a lifestyle! It is an intentional wellness plan to take care of and be good to you!
I decided months ago that I don’t have to set myself on fire to make you feel warm. I decided to balance my life by making myself a priority. You cannot control, manipulate or guilt me into a “yes” either! This paradigm shift comes with a cost but it’s one of the best decisions that I have ever made! I made it for me! Make your “yes” count. Sometimes, “no” is necessary!
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