I realised I was afraid of saying no because my biggest fear is rejection. I was afraid that every time I did this, I would disappoint someone, make them angry, hurt their feelings or, appear unkind or rude. (Chantalle Gerber)
The secret path to self-destruction…I wish I knew the origin…the exact moment where we lose respect for ourselves. I wish I knew why we hold on to destructive childhood beliefs that force us to think that we are not good enough. Where does it all start? The fear of rejection, fear of being humiliated and abandoned or the misplaced feelings of being ashamed of ourselves?
We could blame it all on social pressure, but that would be a lie…
Looking back at my own life, I realize that I should have mastered the art of saying no when I was young. I shouldn’t have sacrificed my happiness to conform to outside influences. I know how it works, we allow ourselves to go back to specific experiences and memories, to pin the blame on someone or something that happened to us. If we fail, we burden ourselves with questions; why did we tolerate, contribute and secretly approve of being ill-treated? Some of us make up for the lack of self-acceptance by doing more, filling our lives with junk hoping that someone will recognise our value. We give our power away to the spectators in our lives, measuring our self-worth and dignity by the way people respond to us.
Live your life for you, not for anyone else. Don’t let the fear of being judged, rejected or disliked stop you from being yourself. (Sonya Parker)
We believe that we can’t change. WE disempower ourselves by thinking that we can’t evolve and grow. This is a lie. The truth is that we have to stop certain behaviours and ask ourselves some serious questions. Not so pleasant.
If you are lucky, you don’t completely loathe yourself – but why is it so difficult to let things go? To extract ourselves from situations that are harming us? The drama of our lives becomes our mantra, we get used to and thrive on the emotional highs and lows. It takes some serious effort and introspection to adjust our thinking. It is difficult to acknowledge that we deserve more self-love and respect. As long as we allow ourselves to hover between yes and no, we feel safe. We fool ourselves into thinking that we have options. We can complain and search for love and acceptance everywhere but within.
I found Biblical solace in realizing that God’s nature is specific.
For the son of God was not yes and no, but in him it is always yes. (2 Corinthians 1:19)
In Jesus Christ, every one of God’s promises is yes. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
I had to learn the discipline of being brutally honest. To say yes when I really wanted to do something that was important to me, and to say no when I didn’t want to do something.
Honesty is the best solution for cleaning up a sticky situation. (Marie Forleo)
Setting boundaries for myself had a spiritual impact on my life. I realized that by doing things out of a sense of duty, I filled my days with empty tasks that emptied me. I lost my joy and it felt as if my life had no meaning. I didn’t really care about people, I tried to live up to the image that I created for myself.
Studying the second book of Corinthians, I learned how to make progress. How to choose between saying yes and saying no. Faith in God and spiritual discipline introduced me to my authentic self. It is a life-long project figuring out to what or to whom we should give our yes.
I am an introvert. I need lots of space and time to rejuvenate and replenish my social capacity. Life drains me. I had to set realistic limits to what I can accomplish in one day. I had to change my behaviour to make responsible choices.
We must live within our means, not only within our financial means, but within our spiritual, psychological, intellectual and social means. (Ralph Potter)
I don’t consider it rude or impolite to distance myself from people or activities that I don’t feel compatible with. I don’t feel guilty to decline invitations to social activities that I know will leave me exhausted. I have a specific God-given purpose on this earth and I want to live intentionally. I don’t want to feel uncomfortable and frustrated all the time. Living my life through the natural rhythm that God created for my life motivates me to be creative and productive.
I want to encourage you to feel your own pulse! Live your life to your fullest potential. Learn to say yes…or no!
I have warning lights that flicker when I veer off the path.
Hesitation – when I postpone action or pause before saying or doing something…I should say no!
“Psychological conflict” – when I feel tense, anxious, distressed, irritable, battle to sleep or a lack of motivation…I should say no!
Encouragement for June
- Be direct. “No, I won’t be able to attend.” Or “Yes, definitely.”
- No is a full sentence! Don’t offer apologies or explanations.
- Be honest. Lying will increase anxiety or guilt.
- Be polite. “Thank you for inviting me but I won’t be able to attend.”
I want to dedicate this article to the work of the Holy Spirit in me. For reminding me who I am, to whom I belong and to instilling values that encourages me to be the kind of person that I want to be.
John Calvin insisted that human wisdom is composed of two parts, the knowledge of God and the knowledge of self and that we can never have the latter without the former.
Paul writes: “As surely as God is faithful, so my word to you has not been yes and no; in Christ Jesus every one of God’s responses is yes.” (2 Corinthians 1:18)
We must reserve a back shop all our own, entirely free, in which to establish our real liberty and our principal retreat and solitude. (Michael de Montaigne)
Let your word be yes, yes or no, no; anything else comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37)