I'm a Yes (Wo)man. A habitual people pleaser. An empath. A giver. And often taken advantage of.
When I was younger, I thought saying Yes was the only way to earn others' approval. The only way to be 'liked'. I guess to some extent I based my own self worth on what others thought of me. To this day I think I still base some of my self worth or how 'good' of a person I am on how much I do for others. Which logically I realize is insane, but somehow it still affects me.
The thing about saying Yes to others all the time, is that it means you are saying No to yourself most of the time. And that's not healthy.
I bring all of this up because just this week another occasion arose where someone asked me to go above and beyond...and for once I said No! This decision did not come without much stressful (needless) deliberation. When the request was first made of me, I didn't even see it as a question. I immediately jumped to Yes, and started freaking out, thinking 'How am I going to do this!?'. Trying to work out the logistics in my head, even though I knew it wouldn't work.
It's important to keep in mind, that when someone makes a request of you, there are always at LEAST two equally viable, possible answers: Yes or No. Evaluate the situation and decide what works for you, instead of jumping straight to Yes.
I stressed myself out so much over this situation that I ended up with a stomachache and headache. I tend to absorb the problems and energy of others and that was definitely happening in this situation. It took the wise words of a few friends to make me realize I had absolutely no obligation to say Yes to something I wasn't comfortable or able to do!
One friend told me, 'You don't need a reason to say No'. And she was so right. When faced with saying No, I'm often so uncomfortable with it that I try to come up with excuses or reasons. She made me realize this is not only not necessary but it's no one's business why you can't or won't do something.
Another very close friend who is also a huge Giver told me this, "Givers have to set boundaries because Takers rarely do". BOOM!!! <------That's some Oprah-level material right there. My friends are such wise sages.
After I finally said No, I actually felt a physical wave of relief rush through my body. I knew I had done the right thing.
I spoke to my mom later that evening, who pointed out that not only will you respect yourself more, but others will also show you more respect when you learn to say No effectively. Directly or indirectly, you let people know how to treat you.
The world is full of both Givers and Takers. The yin and the yang. But if you're a Giver I hope some of these words give you inspiration. And if you're a Taker, stop taking advantage of Givers who haven't yet learned the Art of No. Seriously, knock that $hit off.
*As an additional resource, I found this article on WikiHow to be really helpful: How to Stop Being a People Pleaser
Are you a People Pleaser?
Do you say Yes even when you want to say No?
If not, how did you learn to set healthy boundaries?