It happened without your noticing. “Yes!” slipped out of your mouth, even though you felt your shoulders rise, your stomach clench and your heart start beating a little faster. You feel resentment creeping into you as you leave the conversation.
“Dammit! I caved again.”
It’s a double whammy. You have piled one more thing onto your already over-full plate and you are mad at yourself for succumbing. You don’t like that you’re a pushover. (And perhaps you take on some self-sabotaging behaviors like eating or drinking to soothe yourself.)
Or, a different scenario is possible. Maybe you don’t even realize you’re saying yes. Instead, one day you find yourself totally overwhelmed with obligations that don’t fulfill you, don’t further your life, your goal or the goals of your family and work. They’re “shoulds” or “have tos.” You realize you have too much on your plate and aren’t even sure how it happened. Maybe you feel a bit victimized. Maybe you’re angry.
Either way, this has to stop.
The way I see you, you can’t worship two gods. You’re afraid to say no because you’re a people pleaser (god #1) and rather than feeling uncomfortable in the moment, you passively care more for what someone else thinks than for your own divine self (god #2). If you are divine (and you know you are!) you have to listen to your intuition, your inner knowing, and your own priorities to take care of what is important to you. That doesn’t mean you have to be selfish. It simply means it’s time to stop worrying about what everyone thinks about you, and just act the way your inner knowing tells you to act.
Saying yes (when you want to say no) happens for several reasons:
You don’t like the feeling of saying no. It makes you uncomfortable and you’re worried how someone else will feel when you say no.
You care too much about what someone will think of you if you say no ( I.e., you’re not committed, you’re lazy, etc.).
You lack the confidence to stand up for yourself and say no.
It’s a habit. It feels good to be needed or wanted, and so you say yes as a knee jerk reaction—almost like an addiction.
You genuinely want to help but don’t take the time to really look at your other obligations. You put yourself last.
So what are some ways to handle this lack of assertiveness?