I was hoping you could help me out with an issue I have created. My life is so jam-packed with commitments, some that can’t be avoided and some that could be. I just don’t know how to say no! This problem gets worse though, more often than not I say “yes” because of how being a pleaser makes me look to others. Everyone loves a pleaser, right? Unfortunately saying “yes” even when I don’t want to has left me feeling very inauthentic and empty. If you had any advice I would gladly welcome it.
Dearest Authentic Friend,
Be rest assured that many of us can relate to this. Over extending ourselves for others is often deep-rooted in the one’s sense of self.
There are two issues here; one is the chaos in busy life and then not being able to say “no”. The crazy busy life is jammed pack with things to do, checking each one-off the list upon completion. But as we check these lists, and take a step back to reflect on what the lists consist of, do we actually focus on a task completely and whole heartedly? If we are not then perhaps the task should be avoided. The list should have meaning.
The first step for you is defining healthy boundaries. Boundaries help us define healthy limits in our lives. To keep the good in and the bad out.
Galatians 6:5 “ For Each one should carry his own load.”
There is a balance with our boundaries because we are called to serve and love others.
If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
It is important to note that we do not serve others at the expense of our health and vitality. The people pleasing tendency is something that is often driven by fear. This tendency also is the root of blurred boundaries. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you worry when you say no to someone?
- Have you avoided people because you are fearful they request something of you?
- Is most of your time filled up with requests of others?
- Are you influenced by what others think of you?
- Are you fearful of disappointing others?
If you have answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you are a people pleaser.
Often the people pleasing tendencies come from insecurities. Self-worth that is defined from external influences can be a major barrier in life and a heavy burden to bear.
Psalm 38:4-6 (GW) My guilt has overwhelmed me. Like a heavy load, it is more than I can bear. My wounds smell rotten. They fester because of my stupidity. I am bent over and bowed down very low. All day I walk around in mourning.
When we look to others to fill our needs and gratify ourselves, we will never feel full.
God promises us, that through Him we will feel full. Through Him we are beautifully made, and are loved.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
He cares for us.
We are loved.
Let Him plan for us.
My dear friend, you have an authentic self, it is deep-rooted in your soul. God made you, you are perfectly made and loves you for exactly who you are. Do you believe this? If you do not, then you need to start with yourself, and start nurturing and loving yourself when you look in the mirror. You are not made to be caged and defined by what others think of you. You were meant to fly.
There are a number of other things you can do to start making some healthy steps in setting boundaries and nurturing yourself:
- Listen to your “gut” – if your instincts are saying, I don’t have time for this or this is going to impact your family life, then it is time to gently say “no”. Ask God to help you set healthy boundaries in this area so that you prioritize your time based on your family/unit needs and then His direction for you.
- Have authentic conversations with others – practice saying “yes” and “no” (and really meaning it). Explain your feelings to others and the reasons why you made the decision and you will begin to feel better about it. This is empowering!
- Do not make decisions on what others want for you – this will help you to set boundaries in your relationships. While you want to live in peace with others, their wants should not drive your decision-making.
- We were not made to please others - When we look at the meaning for “please” it means to satisfy or gratify. Interesting that the definition is what people pleasers look for every day - instant gratification. God does not call us to gratify, rather He asks that we love one another, keep peace, and to help others in a respectful and honorable way.
- This is the most important of all: Pray for discernment in all things – Set some time aside every day with God. Ask Him to lead you and pray for discernment in all things. If you slow down and listen - He will lead.
Finally my friend, you have the power to take this step. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable, but life was not meant to be easy, we were meant to learn and grow. See this as a growing opportunity for spirit, mind and soul.
You are beautifully and authentically made.
My prayer for you and all of the others going through this same situation:
Dear Lord God,
I ask that you rest the spirit, mind and soul of all those that seek external gratification to define who they are. I ask that you pour into their souls Your love and Your words. I ask that you help them discern where they should spend their time and that You lead them in their activities in their lives.
You tell us to:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
May we trust in You in all things Lord. I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.
Blessings to you beautiful lady,
PS. For all of you reading this, if you have a strategy that has worked in these situations, please share it here with our readers. We are meant to share in order to grow. Blessings and thanks!!
If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]
You can also visit her personal blog page at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com