When you tell someone, “No,” how does it make you feel?
The moment people pleasers are faced with a decision, we become hyper focused on how the other person will react. As we try to measure how the other person is feeling, we lose sight of what we are feeling.
Let’s do a little role play.
Think about a time when you said NO to someone or perhaps you need to say NO and you haven’t worked up the courage yet. Imagine the scene in detail. Where are you? Anyone else with you? What are you wearing? What do you hear?
Do you have the picture in your mind? Very good.
Tell them, “No.”
Now, stay focused on YOU… How do YOU feel? What happens in your body? What are you thinking?
Do you tense up – shoulders curved in – bracing for the response? Maybe you stop breathing, waiting for the blow back. Where are your hands - fisted at your side or crossed over your chest in a protective stance?
What emotions are you feeling?
It is common to feel fear, guilt, self-doubt, or overwhelming anxiety. What is your automatic, habitual response to these feelings? Do you want to cave into the fear? Does the guilt make you try to soothe the other person? Do you start to break down and change your NO to a Yes?
Now, take a deep breath and stay in the tension. Don’t react. Just observe the other person.
Be quiet and allow them to be disappointed. Stay calm and allow them to be upset. We are not obligated to fix, soothe, or pacify them. It is an impossible task - trying to control others’ reactions.
We are allowed to pass our time how we see fit. We are allowed to spend our money on our priorities. We are allowed to use our energy on fulfilling our needs.
They are entitled to their feelings. And we are entitled to ours.
Let go of the fear and guilt. You are entitled to say NO.