Saying NO

November 2007

Hi and Welcome to Issue #027 of Devine Online!

Are you a ‘yes-person’? How many times have you agreed to do something for someone when you really wanted to say no, and then later stewed over your decision, wishing you had had the guts to say what you really think? If you have a hard time saying no, then you may be doing yourself more harm than you realise. Here’s why:

People Pleasers

Simple fact: We all want to be liked. Even those of us who say we don’t – ESPECIALLY those people! This is a natural part of our make-up, because as social beings we strive to belong, and part of belonging is having other people approve of us. So where do we draw the line between popularity and doormat? Sometimes we’re so attached to what others think of us that we compromise our own wellbeing; and it is precisely that attachment that can end up becoming our worst enemy!

Many of my clients come to me feeling totally depleted of energy. They simply don’t have enough time in the day to do the things they want to do, because of commitments they have made to other people and causes. Their sense of obligation to others and fear of losing approval is so great that they would rather suffer in silence than address the real cause of the problem; attachment to other people's approval. So if you fall into this category, one of the most significant questions you need to ask yourself is: ‘what is it costing ME to be everything to everyone?’

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that you turn your back on the people you love; just that you exercise some discretion about where you put your time. You are in charge of your life . No-one else but you. Nobody can ‘make’ you do anything you don’t want to do. So practise saying ‘no’ once in a while, and guess what? The sky won’t fall in; the world will keep turning!

Ultimately, the reason why so many people have come to rely on you is because you have taught them how to treat you. So now it’s time to get some balance back into your life...and it starts with a little re-education.

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Ask and it is Given

Many people don’t know the first thing about what they actually want, and it’s usually because they have spend most of their lives putting the needs of others before their own. The first step to asking for what you want is to know WHAT it is that you want. As children we are bombarded with rules and expectations. We are told:

  • ‘It’s rude to ask for things’;

  • ‘Always think of others before yourself’;

  • ‘Other people will think you’re selfish if you’re too pushy’;

  • ‘Wait your turn’

  • Unfortunately, many of these rules and expectations often produce submissive children and later on in life, submissive adults. Have you been negatively hypnotized? If so, it's time for some re-programming! So consider these novel ideas:

    It IS okay to expect the best. It IS okay to ask for help or ask for changes to be made. (Yes, really and truly!) The problem is that most of us have been so well-conditioned to keep quiet, that we simply don’t know how to change!

    What do YOU want and who do you need to tell? Many relationships suffer because one partner is continually kept in the dark about what the other wants. Have you been expecting your partner to read your mind? If so, cut them some slack, and take responsibility for your own happiness. Learn to express your needs, opinions and feelings and you will improve your relationships one hundredfold.

    Where the Anger comes from

    Here’s a typical example of one of my ‘angry’ clients:

    “Lisa” comes to see me because she wants me to help her to take control of what she describes as a ‘shocking temper’. She constantly snaps at her partner and kids. The slightest little thing sets her off and causes her to fly into fits of rage. She can’t understand why she is unable to control her anger, since as far as she is concerned the things she gets angry about would never bother a ‘normal person’.

    After talking to her for a while I discover that “Lisa” is a classic ‘people pleaser’; she simply cannot say no. She never has time for herself, because she’s always too busy doing things for other people. She feels that she can’t let them down because if she doesn’t do all of the things she’s expected to do, then ‘no-one else will.’

    And it doesn’t stop there; if somebody does or says something to upset “Lisa”, her response is to push her annoyance away or ignore it because she feels she has no right to be annoyed or upset in the first place...she believes that she is too sensitive, and that she should just get over it. Not surprisingly, “Lisa” suffers from regular migraines, has problems sleeping and overeats to compensate for her feelings of being overwhelmed .

    "Lisa" shows us how and why always putting others first doesn’t work. Ironically, through her angry outbursts, “Lisa” is hurting the very people she claims to be her number one priority. So there is a very important lesson to be learned here; Look after yourself. If you don’t, you can’t look after anyone else.

    Need some help? A skilled therapist will plant the right seeds and get you attracting what you want in life.

    Make a decision today to identify and remove the beliefs that are no longer serving you well.

    'Assertive' is NOT a dirty Word

    Many of my clients are misguided in their opinions about behaviour. They confuse assertive behaviour with aggression, and when I mention assertiveness, I will often hear them say: “Oh, I couldn’t possibly do that!” So let’s clear this up right now:

    Aggressive people behave in a manner that says ‘What you want doesn’t count. My needs are the only ones that matter. Get out of my way or you’ll be sorry’. Aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviour can take many forms, including shouting, finger pointing, bullying and sulking. Aggressive people are fearful of losing control and therefore use inappropriate behaviour to take control at any cost.

    When you behave assertively, you are saying: ‘I respect you and I respect myself’. By using assertive behaviour and language, you can ask for what you want, express your needs and opinions and even communicate disappointment or disapproval without violating the rights of other people. When you are assertive, you are able to address minor irritations before those irritations build to anger and resentment. And the great thing is that you CAN do all of this in a respectful and appropriate manner!

    You DO matter. You are a significant, equal human being with a will and a mind of your own, and you have every right to happiness. So embrace your right to express your feelings, and as you do this, other people will change their behaviour towards you.

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    Feeling stuck? Consider enlisting the services of a qualified therapist to help you identify your blocks and create new, empowering beliefs.

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    So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this issue of Success Express...have a great day!

    - Sonia

    Manifest Your Success

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