Raise your hand if you really want people to like you and approve of you!
Raise your hand if you’re a professional people pleaser!
Raise your hand if you’re a very giving person and love helping others!
Raise your hand if you are an HSP or empath and you can’t even help but be attuned to other people's needs!
I imagine if you raised your hand for any of those, then saying no to someone as a really scary and difficult thing, am I right?
I get it. I can totally relate!
People like us would rather imposition and deny ourselves than imposition those around us, especially loved ones.
But here’s the deal, always saying yes to everyone else, equates to saying no to ourselves.
I’m not saying you have to go completely 180° and stop being a kind, compassionate, or helpful person to others. What I’m saying is there needs to be some balance. Because when you say yes to everyone else, at some point, you’re going to burn out and have nothing left to give.
So imagine some recent requests of you from loved ones, or strangers ,or customers, etc., and imagine yourself saying, "no, that doesn’t work for me."
What does that feel like to say? Does it create panic in your body? Do you instantly worry that they might get mad or stop loving you or approving of you? It’s likely to be a very high sensation experience, which is why we tend to avoid it. High sensation is frequently paired with danger in our minds.
But here’s a thing to question yourself: is it really dangerous to say, “no, I can’t do XYZ for you, because I need to take care of myself right now.“?
In most cases, it’s not going to be dangerous; we just perceive it to be.
Take a moment to close your eyes again, and visualize yourself saying yes to yourself; yes to one of your deep needs that you have been putting off or ignoring.
What does that feel like in your body? Relief? Warm and gooey? Hopeful? Scary?
You know that saying: you can’t pour from an empty cup… Well, here’s how you make sure your cup stays full enough that you have something to gift to others: you figure out when it’s important and the right time for you to say no to other people’s requests of you.
At the very least, start playing a game with yourself when you receive these requests and imagine yourself saying yes to it, and then seeing what that feels like. Then imagine yourself saying no to it, and see what that feels like. If saying no brings ease and peace and relief to your body and mind as you imagine that, then that’s a good sign that no is the correct response for you in that moment.
Want to really challenge yourself? Make a deal with yourself that you’re going to say no at least 5 times every week. And then for each no, find a way to say yes to yourself.
It may be super challenging and make you feel panicky in your body to practice this, but I guarantee you that it feels much better to pour from an overflowing cup than it does to pour from an empty cup. 😉