We all have at least a little bit of a people-pleaser within us. I am not sure that people-pleasing is altogether a bad thing. Aren’t we supposed to consider others in our decision-making process? For example, I know it gives me great joy when I do something that pleases my husband, Frank.
However, when I say “yes” when I should have said “no,” I notice a remarkable absence of joy in my spirit. This absence of joy lets me know when I have tipped the scale too far into the “yes” side of the scale, and my yes-and-no scale are now out of balance. What I have agreed to do has become a regrettable experience.
How do we know when our answer should have been no?
Think about a recent situation when you said yes, but you should have said no. Did you notice your voice giving you any of the following messages?
- You said yes because you were worried about upsetting someone.
- You wanted to avoid the feeling of guilt.
- You valued harmony more than listening to your voice.
- You felt that the other person’s perspective was more valuable than your own.
- As you now listen to the quietness of your voice, it is whispering messages of regret.
- You have found that you have compromised beyond your comfort zone.
- Your body is telling you it regrets your decision.
- You feel an absence of peace.
Now, I want you to imagine that you said no. Imagine that you had turned up the volume on your own voice and turned down the volume on the Voice-of-Guilt. What would have been the outcome had you chosen to say no?
- Would you have used that energy to invest in something that was more closely related to your life work?
- If the person or situation that you chose to say no to caused tension, could you hold that tension and acknowledge it as good tension, knowing that your voice led you to say no?
- Would you consider that, in this situation, being heard might have been more important than harmony?
- Is it possible that saying no became an invitation to another person to step up to the task?
- Do you notice the presence of peace?
My friends, don’t say yes because you trying to avoid feelings of guilt, such as relational guilt. Allow for the tension and see what this teaches you about your voice.
Don’t say yes because you are concerned that others may feel differently towards you. If your voice is leading you to a yes, then listen to it. However, if your voice is leading you towards a no, that voice is equally wise, so listen to it.
Your voice often works in tandem with your Spirit. Both a yes and a no can be an act of faith, as well as steps towards finding your Voice!
(1) Is there a time when your no was an act of faith?
(2) Do you trust your Voice when it leads you to a no?
(3) Do you have some wisdom you would like to share regarding what you have learned about the practice of saying no?
I look forward to your thoughts, comments and dialogue!
If you have found this post helpful or insightful, please share it with the women in your life!