If we automatically say yes to everything, we run the risk of becoming a people pleaser. This may have resulted as a learned behaviour from our childhood, or perhaps our natural temperament of caregiver leans us in that direction. In either case, two fears that exist behind saying ‘No’ include:
- the fear of not being needed. We all have a desire to know that we are needed. Sometimes our need for validation or proof that we are of value can supercede our own ability to ask ourselves just why we are saying yes.
- the fear of being disliked. We all have a desire to feel included. Sometimes our need for approval or acceptance can supercede our instincts that are telling us that perhaps we don’t have the time, energy or support available to say yes.
If we look a little more closely at these fears, we can see that in essence they are tied to our attachment system. We are driven to attach to others in order to feel secure and perhaps saying no threatens our sense of stability. Recognizing that our secure attachments will love us regardless of our answer is a good way to begin testing the waters of occasionally saying “I won’t be able to commit to that,” or “Check in with me next time, this time I can’t fit it into my schedule.”
Learning to say no can be uncomfortable, but it is good practice for living to your true self – a goal that brings us a settled sense of peace.
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