We live in a blame culture - we want to know whose fault it is and how they're going to pay.
Dr. Brene Brown
Too many people are in love with being "nice." We live in a space where we don't want others to be mad at us (or not like us). So we spend a lot of time and energy between being NASTY out of frustration and making it up by being NICE on the back end. Or overwhelming people with our NICE so they won't notice our NASTY.
I was once the Queen of this strategy.
I would do things like say "Yes" (or nothing at all) to a request (with saying nothing at all leaving the other person with a feeling that I agreed). Then later, I would become resentful and frustrated. This resentment and frustration would lead me to angry outbursts where I would "give them a piece of my mind."
I was told one day "Don't give them a piece of your mind. You need ALL of your pieces!"
Then I would make up all of these stories about the OTHER person. And in my story it was ALWAYS their fault.
When we make the other person the ENEMY, we enter into a battle. The struggle is to keep our halo (oh, look. I'm an angel.) while making the other person BAD or WRONG.
This sets us up for a STRUGGLE. And that STRUGGLE will leave us exhausted, angry, and frustrated.
The best thing that I ever did was learn how to set BOUNDARIES.
What does that look like? I started with learning the power of "No."
Two-year olds know this power. Some are so full of its persuasion that they will learn to sing it. "No!" becomes their battle cry. That is until we as parents teach them that using that word is BAD.
Too many of us are taught to give up our "No" power very early in life. Parents mean well. Then we get to school and teachers reinforce "get along," "don't be difficult," "play nice." We begin accepting and internalizing that saying "No" is a bad thing.
We carry this perception into adulthood. Every time we utter the word "No," feelings of guilt and shame flood us. We will often say "No" but later recant and say "well, maybe" or "I should..." Not long after this we allow those feelings to push us into giving up our "No." We give in only to regret it later on.
All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Jesus, Matthew 5:37
What I know now that I didn't know then is this: Letting my words agree with my heart is the most loving thing that I can do for myself.
When I accept my "Yes" AND my "No" I own the result of it. And there is no one else to blame.
I have become very sensitive to phrases like "he MADE me mad" "I HAVE to do X, Y, Z."
Really? How can they MAKE you anything? And why do you HAVE to do anything?
The truth is that exercising our "No" reinforces that truth that we have POWER. And owning our personal power is not only the key to living in FREEDOM, it is the key to living Your Unique.
I know that it is much easier to blame someone else and pretend to be helpless in our circumstances. Is that how you want to live your life? Prisoner to other people's opinions and decisions?
If your answer is "Yes," then this blog is not for you.
If your answer is "No," then it is time for you to make some changes in your life.
And the first step you can take toward making that change is by learning to own your "No."
Here are some simple strategies that I have used to break free from the guilt and shame that will trap me into saying "Yes" when I want to say "No":
I remind myself that I am the only person that I have to live with for the rest of my life. I owe it to ME to be honest with myself.
I remind myself that if the other person truly loves me then they want me to be happy and will learn to love me past my "No."
I remind myself that saying "Yes" or "Maybe" when I want to say "No" will leave me full of anger and regret later.
I tell myself "Be brave. Be strong. Don't compromise your integrity with yourself."
I ask someone that I know is good at saying "No" to listen to my story and tell me how they see it. They will often validate what I am thinking and make me more confident in my "No."
I really can't explain the peace that I have living in this way. And it has made people more respectful towards me. They see that I value myself so they value me.
NOTE: There are some people who will never respect you or value your boundaries. For more information on how to deal with these boundary busters and clueless energy drainers, read this book by Dr. Henry McCloud and John Townsend.
It is NOT always THEIR fault. Sometimes it is YOURS. Own it and you will begin a journey towards a life filled with peace, love, and joy.
I am cheering for you!