A wise man told me once that all human behaviour has two main motivations: Love or Fear.
When you think about it, it makes sense. Love implying care, respect and honour for yourself and others. Fear losing something we have or not getting what we want. Too often us humans say ‘Yes’ out of fear. Say yes to things to look good, avoid conflict, sense of ‘duty’ or guilt. Inevitably, we suffer through this inauthentic response. Mainly through hidden resentments and reinforcing our victim mentality. If we say yes when we mean or want to say No, we are not being honest or speaking our truth.
Why do we say yes when we really want to say no? Many times the yes response is a learned unconscious response coming from our self-protection instinct. This instinct has been developed from childhood from events that determine our unconscious behaviour. In childhood our brain has not developed enough to filter what is real or not. According to Neuro-Linguists we believe everything that is done to us or said to us is truth. For example, a heavily critical parent creates the belief that ‘I’m not good enough.’ Now, if I have this unconscious belief established deep inside me, it is natural to look for evidence to support it. My Ego (survival filter) will look for anyway to reinforce this. To protect our belief! For example, let’s say we have the underlying belief, ‘I need to please others to be liked’, may prompt an automatic yes (regardless of our inclination or availability) when asked to help with something. We know the limiting belief is triggered when we feel uncomfortable or resentful.
To powerfully assert who you are and be known for someone who has a strong sense of self, an alternative way to say no is by using a ‘feedback sandwich;’ acknowledge-request-appreciate. If asked to go somewhere or do something, firstly, thank them for thinking of you. Secondly, state your unavailability. Thirdly, give an alternative solution or wish them well. No need for excuses or reasons – you have graciously declined.
Boundaries are important to our self-esteem it also places us in a position where people know us and respect us. When something is not ok and we let it go, it affects our self worth, potentially reinforcing that victim part of us. Saying No to is fulfilling our personal rights. The right to be happy, the right to have an opinion, the right to shine out…creating our world not reacting to it!
People pleasing are another character trait that is common amongst us “Yes” people. There tends to be an obsession with being “nice” at the cost of our authenticity. I remember the day I discovered how much of a people pleaser I was. I had just had a heated argument with a colleague that was quite unresolved, the next moment I found myself getting up and asking if they wanted a coffee. My actions didn’t feel right, it was as if I was ‘glossing’ over the uncomfortableness, a wonderful learning moment for me. People pleasing are an unconscious manipulation to avoid conflict, for the reasons mentioned in paragraph two.
The author Neale Donald Walsch says there is “no purpose to life except what we create.” The choices to be the best version of your self depend on how you interact with the world. It’s important to ask ourselves what we really want. Are all our actions and behaviours aligned with our purpose in life? If we don’t know our purpose spend time creating something it, is the easiest way to be authentic and say what we mean, when we know our path for a more productive life. Learn to say no.