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The Power of the Word No

How do you tell if you're a people pleaser? You could ask a friend, or maybe even use a popup quiz. But you didn't come here to take any tests. That's why I'm here to offer my expertise on the matter: I've been that person that everyone pegged as the people pleaser.

I struggled for most of my life about saying no, and just the idea of saying no made me feel so guilty. Saying no felt like I was kind of taking away something from that particular person and thus I was being selfish by not doing as this person wants me to do. But then came a time when saying no is part of learning how to let go the guilt and blame associated with other people’s reaction. By putting others ahead of me I was neglecting myself, and ultimately giving more than what I was receiving back. I didn't want to say it. But I should have said it a lot sooner with a lot more conviction. It's something I always wish I would have done while growing up because if I did, it would have saved me so much time and energy, pain and suffering. You know the saying “People often find what they’re not looking for when they are looking for something else”?  Well I spent a lot of my life looking for something else. When I think back over the years, it was always based on other people's expectations – my parents, friends, teachers…you name it! As soon as I allowed myself to do something that felt right, rather than pleasing everyone around me, I started to feel happier and better about myself.

Sometimes it will feel really hard to do something new and scary. Other times it will be tempting to just keep on doing the same old thing. The word no has power when you choose to use it, whether it's saying no to people or situations that drain your energy, taking a chance on doing something new, or saying no to something you used to think was important.

We all like to be liked. And we all want people to say yes to everything we do. But this attitude often means that we either 1) don't ask for what we want and keep quiet about what we do/don't like, or 2) do things that make us unhappy or anxious just so that we can keep others happy. I challenge you to start putting yourself first, take the time today and right out a list of your boundaries. For example, I'll give you one of mine, " If I don't feel safe or respected, I have the right to say no". Creating healthy boundaries will help you steer away from being a people pleaser.

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