It happened without your noticing. “Yes!” slipped out of your mouth, even though you felt your shoulders rise, your stomach clench and your heart start beating a little faster. You feel resentment creeping into you as you leave the conversation.

“Dammit! I caved again.”

It’s a double whammy. You have piled one more thing onto your already over-full plate and you are mad at yourself for succumbing. You don’t like that you’re a pushover. (And perhaps you take on some self-sabotaging behaviors like eating or drinking to soothe yourself.)

Or, a different scenario is possible. Maybe you don’t even realize you’re saying yes. Instead, one day you find yourself totally overwhelmed with obligations that don’t fulfill you, don’t further your life, your goal or the goals of your family and work. They’re “shoulds” or “have tos.” You realize you have too much on your plate and aren’t even sure how it happened. Maybe you feel a bit victimized. Maybe you’re angry.

Either way, this has to stop.

The way I see you, you can’t worship two gods. You’re afraid to say no because you’re a people pleaser (god #1) and rather than feeling uncomfortable in the moment, you passively care more for what someone else thinks than for your own divine self (god #2). If you are divine (and you know you are!) you have to listen to your intuition, your inner knowing, and your own priorities to take care of what is important to you. That doesn’t mean you have to be selfish. It simply means it’s time to stop worrying about what everyone thinks about you, and just act the way your inner knowing tells you to act.

Saying yes (when you want to say no) happens for several reasons:

You don’t like the feeling of saying no. It makes you uncomfortable and you’re worried how someone else will feel when you say no.
You care too much about what someone will think of you if you say no ( I.e., you’re not committed, you’re lazy, etc.).
You lack the confidence to stand up for yourself and say no.
It’s a habit. It feels good to be needed or wanted, and so you say yes as a knee jerk reaction—almost like an addiction.
You genuinely want to help but don’t take the time to really look at your other obligations. You put yourself last.
So what are some ways to handle this lack of assertiveness?

Pause. It is best to pause before committing yourself to something you don’t want to do. If you can’t come up with the no on the spot, and you know you want to, sometimes the best solution is to say, “I’ll get back to you on that” to buy yourself some time. Then, once you’re home (or at least out of the situation) you will be able to look at everything more objectively and gain clarity about whether or not you want to say yes.
Consider whether or not it is worth it.
Consider how you felt when you were asked. Did you feel happy or thrilled to help, or did you feel a weight in the pit of your stomach. That should give you a hint as to whether or not you should say yes.
Respect your own boundaries and time. When you do that, you might find that people respect you more, in general.
Realize you always have a choice. Thinking you are being coerced into doing something is pure victim thinking. You always have a choice AND the right to say no. As my mentor says, “No is a full sentence.”
Consider what you might be getting out of saying yes, even if it’s negative. Sometimes we like to feel needed or included.
Find a way to say no so that you don’t feel like a big ole meany, cuz you’re not. But you can let people down gently. For example, “I know sometimes it’s hard to find someone to do that job but I simply don’t have the time to commit in order to do the best job possible. Thank you for considering me and if I think of anyone who might be able to do it, I’ll let you know.”
Don’t apologize and don’t make excuses. You can say it nicely without creating a whole litany of reasons why you can’t (more people pleasing behavior).
Consider your time as precious. Who you give it to should be extremely deserving and you should feel good about giving it to them.
While there are situations where you give back when it’s inconvenient, a general rule might be, “If it feels like a huge burden, it probably is.”
It’s important to realize how valuable your precious time is. When you say yes to things you don’t want to do, you are disrespecting your divine self.

Remember, worshipping the divine, however you see it, does not include people pleasing. So be honest with your divine self, k? And if you are going to please anyone, why not please you?

Today I begin the art of self care by learning to set boundaries and not apologizing for who I am or what I want. I will take the time to consider my position before saying yes. I will say no when I mean no.

Author's Bio: 

Teri Goetz, CPC, MS, L.Ac. is fiercely committed to helping women transform what they believe is possible for themselves so they reclaim their excitement and passion for what's next and wake up every day to a life they love. By showing women how to reconnect with those alive and juicy parts of themselves, Teri shows women how to merge the very best of who they are now with that spark, energy and enthusiasm for life they once felt years ago. If you are looking for a wise, spiritually grounded expert to help you reconnect with that passion and purpose deep inside of you, push aside your fears, and find what's been missing in your life, you've come to the right place. With more than 22 years of experience, Teri can help you transform your fears, doubts and old stories into a new life of unshakeable confidence and joy.
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