Depending on how you look at it, sometimes, the most powerful word you can say in any type of relationship is “no”; and for you to be able to say it confidently with your head held high and the courage to walk freely away from the situation without feeling a hint of guilt or shame.
For many, this is not an easy feat. If this sounds like you, you may cringe at the thought of it. You may try to find a way to wiggle out of having to confront the situation. And, more often than not, you may just find yourself ending up saying yes when you really mean no.
If you don’t know if this sounds like you or not, as the boundary lines can be a tad bit blurry here especially if you’ve been defaulted to saying yes when you really mean no for practically most of your childhood and adult life, don’t worry. You will, hopefully, through this post, learn to recognize whether you need to say no or not, as well as learn a thing or two about how you can always know how to choose what’s right for you; to say yes when you really mean yes and to say no when you really mean no.
But, first, if you’re wondering why so many people have a hard time saying no when they mean no, here’s a quick answer: It has to do with one’s early development; long before one could even remember and reason on one’s own and cross the street by himself. It usually occurs because one’s boundary, that invisible line that serves as a protection against invasion of one’s personal property (body) and other aspects of life, has been violated.
For example, let us say that you’ve asserted yourself and said “no,” but, the person, perhaps a parent or someone you perceived as more powerful than you are didn’t respect your boundary and you were punished. After a while, if this persists, you’d bet that your unconscious will find a safer way to protect you from harm and say no for you, albeit a not so smart way to keep you alive and well, usually, and often, through an illness.
Although there are many types of boundary issues, saying “no” is just one part of it. If you’re currently suffering from an illness, see if this boundary issue is alive, well, and active in your life. If it is, then you know what the answer clearly is to the title of this post.
So how do you know you need to say no?
One of the ways to recognize if you have this issue is by tuning in to how you feel. If you feel conflicted, it’s a sure sign you’re being clued into something amiss. Linda Adams, President and CEO of Gordon Training International, a human relationships training organization, established in 1962 by Dr. Thomas Gordon, offers some excellent reasons to help you understand the reasoning behind why you might say yes when you really want to say no in Why We Say “Yes” When We Want to Say “No.” If you resonate with any of the reasons Adams gave, it may mean you need to say no.
Here they are:
Desire to please. “What will she think of me?” “I know it would make them happy.”
Fear of hurting someone. “I don’t want to disappoint her.” “I’m afraid I’ll hurt his feelings if I don’t go.”
Guilt. “I’d feel so selfish.” “How could I turn them down?”
Surprise. “Well, I guess I could do it.” “I don’t know…well, O.K.”
Deference to authority. “She’s the boss.” “Yes, sir!”
Reciprocation. “I may need the same sometime.” “She’d do it for me.”
Duty. “I ought to…” “I should…” “I owe it to them.”
Need for power. “If I say ‘no’, they’ll think I can’t handle it.” “Now he’ll owe me a favor.”
Adams’ examples are great ways to quickly gauge where you are with respect to this issue. One other thing I want to add, as I’ve mentioned earlier, is that your need to say yes could stem from fear. For example, you may say to yourself: “Something bad will happen to me if I don’t say Yes.” So the only reason you say yes is because you’re afraid that something bad might happen to you if you don’t do what the other person wants you to do. This is actually quite common by the way.
But, now that you have a better idea about where you stand on this issue, what can you do? Here’s what I am NOT going to tell you to do: I’m not going to tell you that you need to learn to say no. That’s easier said than done. And, it doesn’t work. It might be more helpful if you have done some healing work on your own to heal that part of you where you couldn’t say no so that that part of you can be brought up to par with who you are today: an adult who can say no without fear.
I know that for me, I can try as I might, but if I still have unresolved issues regarding this problem, saying no can be challenging. Not only would I feel fear and a sense of trepidation, I might even find myself complying rather than transforming, once again trumping my progress.
So here’s what you can do: Resolve any unhealed issues regarding this problem and find a conscious solution that is right for you.
From saying yes to saying no: How do you get from there to here?
The beginning step of boundary recovery isn’t easy. It’s never comfortable venturing out of your comfort zone and to do something that you’re not used to, but it’s a must if you want to move out of where you are (from saying yes) to where you want to go (to saying no).
From experience, what I can tell you is that permanent healing can be achieved from this issue when you heal the aspects of yourself where you were “boundary-injured” as Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have termed in their book: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. The easiest and quickest way to recover from this issue is through energy medicine.
For me, I like to use an advanced energy medicine system like Quantum Techniques (QT) to help me work through this issue because it’s fast and often takes just one session. Traditionally, and being trained in the field, I know it would take longer to resolve this problem unless you’re the exception to the rule.
For example, Anne Katherine, M.A., author of Where to Draw the Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day, said: “When it comes to psychological change, going it alone can take decades…Combine a good program with professional help and it’s possible to turn around in two or three years. (All this is assuming you pitch in, tell the truth, and make an effort.)”
Personally, I don’t know if I want to wait that long. I know patience is a virtue, but still.
Even if I have to work through the issue in layers especially if I’ve been severely boundary-injured or boundary-traumatized, working with QT still drastically cuts the learning curve by a long shot. In addition, with QT, many fields can be collapsed at once. Basically, that shortens the time needed to learn something and allows for healing to occur much more rapidly.
Furthermore, QT is also a modality that allows the conscious understanding of what is needed to do today that one couldn’t do before. By healing the old part where you couldn’t say no, that part is brought to the present moment. Otherwise, parts of you would still be stuck in the past and you would still be expending energy just to keep that part alive. As you already know, when energy isn’t flowing freely, disturbance leads to stresses within the body that can cause physical challenges later on.
What’s in it for you when you heal this issue?
When you resolve your boundary issues, you do get better. The body then doesn’t need to use illness anymore as a means to an end and as an invisible fence to help you say what you need to say. As you go on your way from being boundary-injured to boundary-healed, here are some things keep in mind so that you always know how to always choose what is right for you:
- Be in the present moment
- Choose what is true for you
- Speak your truth
As long as you continue to choose what is true for you and speak your truth, you can’t go wrong! That’s your internal GPS system guiding you. Pretty soon, you’ll be saying no when you really mean no and yes when you really mean yes.