This last weekend I made the decision to cancel a date. It’s actually a rarity that I cancel as I’ve become good at foreseeing my needs and planning appropriately. However, there was a time I would have gone out even with the resistance and exhaustion I was feeling. There was a time when I was not able to foresee my needs, but instead, I would say “yes” to everything. But I am different now, I’m the same in many ways, but the difference is I’m now someone who feels empowered to use an incredibly powerful word- no.
On this journey of life, of self-discovery, and growth I’ve learned that I used to say yes to far more than I wanted to. I would say it out loud, but secretly be crying on the inside. I used to give in to the needs of others and override my own needs and desires. I used to believe that if I cared about people I had to show them by bending over backward for them- that the only way to receive love was to people, please. I used to believe the only way to be successful in life was to say yes as much as possible and work to exhaustion. I used to believe I was the least important person in my life. I used to believe that in order to be a loving, good and kind person I had to be willing to always put others needs before my own, to give as much of my time and energy to others as I could- even if it meant sacrificing my own happiness and well being.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, I mean a long time, we’re talking decades. Decades of dragging myself to parties and events even when I would feel a giant knot in my stomach telling me not to. Decades of saying yes to all sorts of committees and work events thinking this was the only way to succeed in life. It left me feeling depressed and miserable. That my life, my worth were completely dependent on others- not on myself.
What I was failing to do all these years was to have any sort of power or control over how I wanted my life to look and feel. I was failing to have boundaries around my time, around my expectations of how I expected friends, family, and boyfriends to treat me. I felt that in order to receive love from others- I had to constantly be giving of myself and my time, putting others needs before my own. I would push myself to my limits and say yes to whatever I could that would make me more successful or loved by those I cared about. I was very disempowered in my own life.
The word I had yet to learn to use when it came to taking care of myself was the word “no.” When we say “no” to others, to events to things we are not feeling in alignment with, what we are actually doing is saying “YES” to ourselves.
To be self-empowered is to feel as though we can have control over certain aspects of our lives, that we can make choices that will have a positive impact on reaching our desires.
Sometimes saying no is exactly what we need to do in order to say yes to reaching our goals in life.
What have you said no to lately that has left you feeling more empowered?