I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgivings and spent loads of time with family and friends. Unless your family stresses you out in which case I hope you left before choking anyone.
This year I’m practicing what I preach by attempting to keep my schedule manageable. I’m not signing up for every single get together; I refuse to be made to feel guilty by not hosting this year; and I am NOT over-spending!
Not! Do I hear myself? Not!
As for me, something a little awkward happened during my family’s party. I asked my cousin if she wanted to get together to wrap holiday presents because we both hate doing it. In the past we’ve gotten together to wrap because it forces us to just suck it up and get it done.
My cousin replied by saying she would like to but had to check her calendar and would get back to me in a few days.
That was the slow yes . The slow yes is my move, and she was using it against me.
Girl, we cousins…
The Slow Yes
I know this move because I teach it to many of my clients. Getting out of the feeling of overwhelm is one of the top things they need help with, and the very first step in the process is learning to say no.
Women in particular have a difficult time with this. We want to be included, feel loved, be part of the gang and not miss out on anything. We also don’t want to say no and risk hurting anyone’s feelings.
Even more accurately, when we say yes to people it is very self-validating. It makes us feel good inside to say yes. We confirm to ourselves that we are good people.
Until we find ourselves over-committed and feeling resentful, frustrated and angry.
By the way, that’s exactly how our friends feel right back because we end up cancelling at the last minute and pissing them off even more than we would have with a clean no in the first place.
But it takes time to learn how to say no with confidence and without remorse, so I teach people the slow yes method.
Use this phrase every single time you are asked to do something: “Sounds good! Let me check my calendar and get back to you in a couple days.”
This way we have not said yes but have not said no either. We are saying nothing at all. It buys time to come up with an answer we are comfortable with. That answer could be yes, or it could be no. We are not sure. We need to check the calendar.
Most women I know have trouble saying no, but not so much with the fellas. My husband doesn’t have this issue. Last weekend I asked him if he wanted to go to a craft show and without even looking up from his iPad he said, “No. Why would I want to do that?”
He says an emphatic “no” and that’s it. End of story.
Part of the reason we have a hard time saying no is because we have People Pleaser personalities.
People Pleasers and Saying No
People Pleasers think that their self-esteem is based on never making anyone else angry. They believe they can never say no, because doing so makes them a bad person and will make people turn away and leave them all alone.
By the way, People Pleasers are often liars too.
When our friends or even spouses ask how we are, we say fine even though we are not fine. If we tell the truth, that we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed or sad, than we are showing a chink in our armor and risk making the other person uncomfortable and possibly think negative thoughts about us.
We can’t have that.
Do you think it’s possible that you are afraid to tell people that you can’t take something on because you are so worried about showing a chink in your armor?
Why do we choose the path of saying yes and then cancelling at the last moment rather than just being honest up front? It’s worse, right? We would feel better, more confident and more in control of our lives if we stood up for ourselves.
Well, we must not feel worthy of those feelings. It must feel more natural to let people down.
This is actually quite normal for women, unfortunately. But eventually, what isn’t so fine will burst out like a volcano of suppressed energy and emotions. That’s usually where I come in.
But I don’t want you to get to that point!
Your Feelings Are Trying to Help
I’ve taught you the slow yes method, and now I want to add a second step.
After you’ve bought yourself some time, take a moment to think about who in your life makes you feel most supported and good about yourself. Pay attention to who those people are.
You may be looking for it in people who are not able to give it to you. So stop. Think to yourself right now. Who makes me feel good? Who adds light into my life and doesn’t just take?
Don’t get hung up on the limiting belief that you are not worthy of feeling good. Make a choice to stop feeling bad.
We can try to get love and support from people who are not giving it back to us because we want something so badly we think that if we keep giving and giving and giving they will eventually come around.
But, that’s just not true.
Look at the truth of what is happening. They continue to take and you continue to come up short. We come up wanting and unfulfilled and it makes us feel like losers because we can’t get what we want from these people.
We keep giving with the hope of feeling fulfilled. But it never happens.
So just give up.
Stop trying to control other people’s emotions and reactions. Just walk away. Think about who already loves you and adds value to your life and concentrate on building relationships with those people.
Why don’t we do this already?
Adjust Your Emotional Alignment
Gabrielle Bernstein, author of the book Super Attractor has some thoughts on the subject: “Say I recognize that I am out of alignment with a person or situation. I choose to release the outcome and feel good now. Allow yourself 5-10 minutes each day to affirming to yourself that you intend to feel good about yourself.”
What does that mean? I suggest to clients that they write down some affirmation statements - sort of like little fortune cookie notes - and place them in a jar. Or, just write them in a journal.
I am a great friend and always try to help when I can
I support my family and friends
I deserve to be happy because I am good enough
Give this a try even if you just take a brief moment in the morning to have the thought.
People Pleasers may have several friends or family members who are very supportive and add positive vibes to their lives, but they concentrate on winning over the ones that drop our energy. They probably even obsess over it.
Deep down we know it will never happen, but we ram ourselves against a wall because we do not honestly think we are worthy of feeling good.
Are you Ready to Feel Good?
Stop focusing on being a People Pleaser and feel empowered!
When you start creating these boundaries and stop over scheduling yourself and stop stressing yourself out with too many commitments you’ll feel like a bad ass. You will feel in control.
Save your time for people and activities that you really want to do and that make you happy.
With Gratitude, Brooke
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