Being able to say "No" to things and people in our lives, is probably one of the most powerful, but yet, one of the hardest things to do. However, what we oftentimes don't realize is, that being able to say "No" can be one of the most liberating actions that an individual can learn to take. Then, why don't we do it more? Personally speaking, my inability to say "No" stemmed from the fact, that at a very young age, I always yearned for acceptance from other people and tried too hard to get others to like me. You see, growing up, I was often teased and taunted by my peers (which we refer to today as bullying), which led to my developing an innate fear of rejection. In other words, I became what is known as a "people pleaser."
So how do you stop being a "people pleaser" and stand up for yourself? I would have to say, that what enabled me to brake free from this stronghold, was when I actually LEARNED how to say "NO!" Not only that, I started loving myself more and therefore, stopped relying on the approval of others for validation. Once I finally came to the realization, that God loved me and that in His eyes I am beautifully and wonderfully made, it didn't matter much what others thought. Don't get me wrong, we all still need validation from those who mean the most to us from time to time, but the difference is that I don't allow what others think, determine my self-worth.
Ok, so how do you learn how to say "NO?" By first, understanding some of the reasons why we don't like to say "No" is key. Right at the top of my list of reasons, is GUILT. In reality, all feeling guilty does is create a false boundary between you and the other person. As a mother, this is tough because we inherently want to give our children what they want, which can then create a sense of entitlement. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days and especially so in the younger generation. As a parent, I had to realize that by not saying "No," I was doing my children more of a dis-service than I was helping them by giving in. Parents, we have to be okay with the notion that we are not supposed to be our children's friend and that they are going to be okay if we say "No!"
Another reason, why I felt that I couldn't say "No," was because I didn't want to appear to be selfish. What helped me to get past this, is the fact that I realized that it is okay to take care of myself. After all, if you don't take care of yourself, then no one else will. And in order to do that, I had to find a healthy balance between all areas of my life that will allow me to maintain peace. Generally, when I am feeling frustrated or stressed, there is no peace which means that something is out of balance. In essence, I use PEACE as the barometer in my day.
Once I finally got past feeling guilty or selfish, I actually felt comfortable saying "No" and not condemned. I also realized, that it empowered me to start walking towards fulfilling my purpose. How so? Because knowing when to say "No" helped me to move forward and ahead in life and also helped me to better manage my time. This allows me to also use the word "No" as a tool of discernment of some sorts. What do I mean by this? Well, in knowing my purpose, if someone approaches me with an opportunity that is not in keeping with what my purpose is leading me to do, then that is a pretty good indication that I should say "No" and keep it moving and on to the next opportunity. Just a little side bar here. You should know that I have never gone wrong when I listened to that "Still Small Voice" guiding me in what I should do. Only when I do not listen have I had to face the repercussions of my disobedience. That's so funny to me because this is what I tell my children when they don't listen! "There will be repercussions and Consequences!" LOL!
Bottom line, God has given us all free will to make decisions and choices as we go through life. Some of our choices are going to be good and some are going to be bad. God uses the bad ones to teach me valuable life lessons and it is during those times that I have grown the most and closer to Him. But just understand, that by saying "No" when something doesn't feel right, God is looking down and saying "Well done my good and faithful servant, well done!"
Wife and mother of two, pursuing my life purpose after getting laid off! Read more on my About Me page.
Disclosure: The above ad is an affiliate link upon which we are compensated for referrals.