If you were brought up in a culture where people wanted you to be a certain way, perhaps your family and your teachers at school encouraged this, but what you wanted to do was often frowned upon or discouraged. You may have built your identity around a false sense of self. This is when the common trait of people-pleasing begins.
In your early years, if your confidence was not high, if life had treated you unkindly, the only way to survive may have been to do what you could to fit in by pleasing others. However, as you grow and expand your understanding of who you are, you may want to break out of that mold, and you may need to begin the process of turning your ‘Yes’ into ‘No’.
After a lifetime of saying ‘Yes’ to others, saying ‘No’ can feel incredibly challenging. You feel that if you say ‘No’ that you will hurt another person, but what you really feel is that you will hurt the illusory you they have been seeing. If you say ‘No’, you risk people not liking the real you and this can feel traumatic for many.
The more in the moment you are, the more you begin to feel your intuition and inner guidance. You will find that situations or opportunities you may have said ‘Yes’ to before, to keep the peace or to go along with someone, that your body responds with a jerk in your belly that tells you it is wrong for you to say ‘Yes’. And so you begin to say ‘No’.
In the beginning you may feel guilt for saying ‘No’ to someone, but once you practice saying ‘No’ moment-by-moment, you feel a great relief inside from listening to your intuition. Once the ‘No’ is said, suddenly a lightness takes place inside.
Consider your ‘No’ as a gift you can give both to yourself and to the other person.
‘No’ can mean you are saying ‘Yes’ to you
It can also mean that you are saying I value myself; I value my time; I value my opinions and I respect who I am now. You are not responsible for how another person responds or reacts to your ‘No’. Your ‘No’ could mean that they receive what they need in that moment, and you could be walking down a different road from normal and find an opportunity waiting for you that you missed by saying ‘Yes’ for too long.
The more you say ‘No’, the more life gives you reason to say a joyful ‘Yes’ to opportunities, change and life experiences. If you keep saying ‘Yes’ when you mean ‘No’, life will simply continue the cycle of giving you life experiences that keep you on the road you are on. Until you become present you may miss your inner signals.
You won’t miss them forever. Eventually your current life experiences may become too painful and too hard that you have no choice but to say ‘No’. But what a better time to say ‘No’ than when it is out of a more loving, empowering choice instead of feeling backed into the corner and choosing from there?
Your body is your guidance system; it speaks to you regularly if you will only pay attention and listen, taking time out to be present, to breathe into your feelings (whatever those feelings are), and allowing ‘what is’ to be. You hear and sense your inner guidance more strongly and you can experience the flow of life more gracefully.
Guilt is just an old reflex from people-pleasing patterns. You are not responsible for how another human being responds or reacts to your ‘No’. Your life needs you to say ‘Yes’ to what feels good and ‘No’ to what doesn’t. You deserve a life filled with positive ‘Yes’s and your ‘No’s also have great importance within these changes taking place.
If someone has become too dependent on you, and something inside you feels uncomfortable, it is time to say ‘No’ and give that person space to develop and experience their own intuition, their own inner strength. You are responsible for you and you alone.
Guilt Will Pass
Feel confident in your ‘No’. Ride the waves of guilt in the beginning. This will pass, the more you embrace who you are. You are here to be you, not someone else’s illusion of you. Break through those illusions now.
Your ‘No’ is loving to both you and the person you say ‘No’ to. It may not seem that way at first, but you must honour your own path and journey, and trust that life knows the way.
Beginning the path of your authentic self can sometimes feel mean to those around you at first. If friends and family have experienced you a certain way for a long time, becoming more honest, more opinionated, less likely to say ‘Yes’ to their wishes, they may indeed view you as grumpy or mean-spirited – let them. They need time to adjust to the ‘real you’ and you may find some friendships dissolving, if they were based on the illusion you had been showing the world. Let this go. It will be easier to have fewer friendships based on illusion as you allow your authentic self to blossom and flourish.
Sometimes it is better to have no friends than to surround yourself with people so that you feel lovable. You are lovable, valuable and worthwhile, regardless of how many friends you have or how much you socialize in life. As you begin to value your own presence, your own gifts, wisdom and understanding, people who like the ‘real you’ will want to spend time with you, regardless of how many times you say ‘No’ or ‘Yes’. They will like this about you, your authentic nature.
If a cat tried to be a dog it would look strange, sound strange and behave strangely. You would think there was something wrong with it, and this is how many of you can feel when you have been living a false persona for a long time, as if there is something wrong with you because you are not being who you actually are.
As you step into your power, the power in the now moment, allowing what is, embracing your feelings, you will feel a sense of freedom being able to let friendships go, and to also not be afraid of people letting you go, or rejecting you, because you are different from how they saw you.
Be Prepared To Walk Away
If you can be willing to walk away from any unfulfilling circumstance or friendship – you are free. Freedom is a feeling, not being afraid that something will happen if you do not have a sense of belonging, or the norm of lots of friends. It is not because you are unlovable, or that people do not like the real you. It simply means you need time to adjust to being who you are, and over time the world will mirror your confidence and comfort in being the whole of who you are, not the illusion you had been projecting all this time.
You may all know people who could not give a damn, genuinely do not care what other people think, and most of you admire this quality in them, and people seem to flock around them because they have no attachments to needing to belong, or needing people to love or like them. These people know full well that not everyone is going to like or love them. Some people will love them and like them, some will hate them and some will fall somewhere in between with a feeling of indifference. This is how the human personality works. You have preferences in what you like in a person but none is better nor worse than any other.
When you were at school you may have wanted to be part of the coolest group in school, the pretty women, the good looking and confident guys, but they just reflected this false perfection you had started to believe in from an early age as you were drawn into the comparison game during childhood. Now, as you drop the need for perfection, drop the need to be a certain someone so that the world approves of you, you will discover that the world likes you just as you are, and you are doing your life a disservice to be anything but your authentic self.
You will find in the beginning that you will not be able to be authentic with everyone. For example you may have strong interests in physics or spirituality and your family doesn’t. You could sit with them for hours trying to communicate your interests and it would be rebuffed, ignored and people would simply zone out. So you can authentically accept that being authentic does not always mean sharing all of who you are with everyone. You simply choose to spend less time with those you are less able to be yourself among.
Every time you say what you want and what you do not want to others, you are saying that you matter. This is your self-value beginning to flow through you. So being authentic, letting the ‘No’s come, allows the changing nature of the universe to live through you. You are worthy of this flow; you are worthy of this grace; you are worthy of this ease and presence.
You are on earth to live your vision, to step into your authentic power, to feel the freedom in the flow of life’s greatest grace. Your life is calling you now.
You’ve been reading a chapter from my book ‘WHEN EVERYONE SHINES BUT YOU’
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