There’s a lot of information on the internet, and in self-help books about how to use the word “no” as a complete sentence. This kind of advice is directed at those of us who have difficulty setting boundaries or putting our own needs before the needs of others – a common problem that leaves you feeling depleted and often resentful in your life and relationships.
Knowing where to draw the line between self and other is an important part of healthy relating, but there’s also a whole population of people that have a hard time saying yes.
What prevents a person from saying no is usually related to seeking approval and wanting to be loved. The inability to say yes is more connected to fear and a lack of trust.
Saying yes to people, situations or life as a whole means that the universe is filled with positive outcomes, and that wanting something equates with getting it. It requires a perspective of abundance and a lot of self-love.
Without the confidence that you are worthy and capable of fulfilling your dreams and desires, and without believing that the people you depend on will be there when you fail makes it nearly impossible to embrace the goodness you deeply deserve and want.
It’s scary to reach for something that appears more as a mirage than a reality. When love feels questionable, too good to be true and conditional, welcoming it into your life would be filled with risk. In this scenario saying no becomes an obstacle to getting many things you need including love, happiness and success on your own terms.
The inability to say yes to love, intimacy, change and success stems from years of difficult relating, disappointment, rejection and dismissive parenting.
We all get plastered and molded into some version of a relational being, and when your “relational style” presents as ambivalent and scared you’re work is to break down the walls to emerge with a more open and accepting world perspective.
This is a frightening and arduous process, but research shows us that we can all change the way we relate in the world if we become aware and curious about what drives those behaviors.
Begin by answering these questions:
Is your main intention in life to make other people happy so you can feel accepted? Do you stay invisible and put most of your focus and energy on taking care of your own needs? Are you an outwardly focused person or an inwardly focused person? Do you do things in your life out of obligation and duty or authentic desire? Do you find yourself turning down opportunities for advancement, growth and opportunity because you don't want the responsibility or commitment? When confronted with decisions in your life do you get stuck in ambivalence or do you become paralyzed?
Your answersÂ should help you start to notice a pattern of how you relate to others and your life in general. You may be someone who is turning away from what is presented or you might be doing too much for the wrong reasons.
Either way, the goal is to find balance and a way to feel safe while embracing challenge and risk without retreating or sacrificing yourself. To do this you have to first understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Every answer you come up with to the above questions will have an intention and motivation behind it. Tactics like avoidance, over-analyzing, and even pleasing are strategies you’re unconsciously employing to ensure that you don’t get what you really want.
Yes, you are the obstacle to your deepest desires which is really good news because now you can begin taking the steps toward getting what you want and the life you deserve.
Dr. Andra Brosh August 5th, 2016