Does this happen to you?
You are invited to a dinner that you really don’t want to go to, but you find yourself saying ‘Yes’, then you make some convoluted excuse later to say you can’t make it ( - white lies are OK, right?)
- Your boss consistently asks you to stay late. If it was just for the period of the project, you’d be OK with it, but now it’s happening all the time. You find yourself agreeing to it, then resenting the decision - and worse, it doesn’t feel like there is any way out.
Hey, I’ve always had problems with setting and standing by boundaries. In avoiding conflict, and trying to keep others happy (‘people-pleasing’ and being “the Good Girl”), I have put my own needs and - yes, even safety - in the back seat. I have made some poor decisions in the past, both personally and professionally, thinking that saying ‘Yes’ was the path of least resistance, avoiding conflict, and ultimately keeping others happy, but not me. I haven’t allowed MY truth to live and breath.
- Like the time a friend came to stay for a month, and ended up staying a year. Even when I talked to him about moving out, that I needed my space back, it fell on deaf ears, and I got on with making the best of a bad situation.
- Like the times I accepted a measly $1,000 raise, or - worse, no raise at all despite being a top performer. Instead of confronting it head on, I resentfully accepted the situation, walking away feeling undervalued and unrecognised for my contribution.
- Like the times I allowed my thoroughly-prepared, practiced, and strategically important presentation to my colleagues in the leadership team to be bumped from the agenda during our 3 day offsite.
- Like the times I allowed myself in my personal life to tolerate the type of treatment that if a friend told me she was tolerating, I’d have said, “Get. Out. Now,” with the compassion and love she deserved.
Well, I’m getting lots of universal lessons showing up to test the strength of my boundaries right now - courtesy online dating!!
It’s a whole new ball game. I’ve created a very clear vision of what I am looking for in a relationship (and in particular how I desire to feel), and what is acceptable and what is not. I find that at every moment, I need to be very aware of these ‘mini-challenges’ being sent my way so I can respond differently - saying ‘No’ when, actually, that’s EXACTLY what I want to say. Do I want to see you again? “You know what? I had a nice time, but no - no, I do not want to see you again. Thank you. “ It also requires me tuning into how I FEEL in this person’s company, instead of letting my rational mind take over with, “Well, perhaps he’s having a bad day,” or “Perhaps, it’ll be different next time.”
It’s a muscle I’m flexing, getting stronger, being clear about what I want to create, and what feels good to me, instead of worrying so much about how others might respond or being the “Good Girl.”
Having that clarity about what I desire has led to a surprisingly enjoyable date with an utter gentleman who I would not normally have been interested in. I said ‘Yes’ to how I want to feel; ‘No’ to the crumbs or sloppy treatment others are offering me.
Is saying ‘Yes’ when you mean to say ‘No’ something you find yourself doing repeatedly?
Here is my mini-challenge to you: next time you feel like this, do things differently, and...Just. Say. No. One small step at a time.
I’d love to hear if this all sounds familiar or about the mini-successes you experience putting your needs and desires first. Hit reply, or go over to my private FB group - join up and share there.
Wish me bon courage in the online world! :D
Big love x