In a world where we live with our calendars full of meetings and obligations, it's no wonder why we seem overwhelmed and exhausted. But, I want you to take a moment and think when was the last time you said no to an engagement? I bet it's been a minute.
It came to me one evening after work. I had to run a quick errand before heading home. I was definitely tired from the day so the last thing I wanted was to stand in a long line for a few groceries. Well, to my luck I got stuck in a slow moving line. However, that moment was quite insightful for me.
The woman in front of me had 2 kids who were quite rambunctious. I envied their energy levels honestly. The mother however, was clearly overwhelmed. She was talking on her phone, using her headphones, while scrolling through her emails and checking her calendar simultaneously, all the while trying to load her items on the convener belt, and trying tame her children. I couldn't make too much out from her conversation, but I did hear this one statement:
"Um, I mean I'm kind of booked that day with my kids engagements, but I guess....yeah put me down. I'll make it work".
It then hit me. Humans have a problem with saying this two letter word: no.
While on my own journey of self healing/awareness, I began to realize that my entire life, I have been a people pleaser. When I first realized this, I immediately tried to deny it. Why? Because, ironically I couldn’t stand people pleasers. I always felt that ”that” person was worth so much more than always following the orders of someone else. And that's when it hit me so hard, that I literally uttered the following phrase out loud, to myself, in my apartment:
“Oh my goodness......my entire life up until now has been the result of other people’s opinions!”
As far back as I can remember, I would always say yes. I said yes to what career path my family wanted, to what my friends told me about what was trendy or not, to how I was supposed to dress, and even as far down as to how I was supposed to “be” in a relationship. From my head down to my tippy toes, I have allowed my responses of "yes" dictate who I became.
It's clear that I had a fear, as many do, of saying no. In my head saying no meant I was letting others down, which brought on feelings of guilt, embarrassment, and doubt. Doing this over an extended period of time has a horrible affects on a person. The worst symptom I noticed from growing up like this was the lack of trust I had in myself. I didn’t trust myself enough that I could make my own decisions, and be happy with them.
I‘m happy to say I have conquered this fear of mine and I love making my own decisions. How did I do I come to this place of trust within myself? By saying this two letter word:
I remember the feeling I had when I was sick and tired of pleasing people. It was a Saturday and I just wanted a weekend to myself. It was a rough week. My job at the time was hectic and I just wanted to be alone to recharge. I get a text from a family member to remind me of a family gathering that I completely forgot about. And on top of that, I had no desire to go. I began to get anxious because my habit was to say, "Yes, I'll be there". But, it was like something came over me, possibly a flood of courage, and I said no. The family member used the good ole "guilt trip" trick on me. But, I stood my ground and said no, I can't make it.
I felt so relieved. I felt.....stronger. For the first time in a while I made a decision and stuck with it.
This simple act created a spiral affect on my life. I started to reevaluate why I did things, why I had certain clothes, why I followed certain pages, etc. I basically took a fine tooth comb on my life and sifted through it. I dumped everything that wasn't me. It did this slowly and intentionally to make sure that I wouldn't relapse on hold habits. That one small step of courage saved my life.
I have now been blessed in a season of my life where the only person I consult with is Alexis. No one else has the power to make decisions in my life for me. It's freeing. It's allowed me to experience one of the best gifts of all, and that is getting to know me.
I encourage anyone who feels like their life is a result of other's opinions, to seek courage, dig deep, and say NO. I promise you it will be the best decision of your life.