What happens to you when your wise inner voice says no, but you overrule it, and say yes instead? Where is the line between kindness towards others, and disrespecting your own self?
Here’s what I mean:
I’m asked to do a favour, and my inner voice says no immediately. I just don’t have the resources (time, energy, space, etc) to say yes to this. But instead I do say yes. And I’m regretting it even as I say it, and I’m already starting to resent it.
I’m in the middle of a “conversation” with someone and I realize they are just dumping on me. They are releasing a ton of negative thoughts and words all over me. I’m listening to them, wanting to help lift their spirits, and it is coming to the detriment of my own. Suddenly, my inner voice goes “No, no more. This doesn’t feel good at all.” But I stay there and keep listening even as I feel myself start to go flat.
This wise inner voice knows what I need and has my highest and greatest good at heart. When it says no, I can trust that it has good reasons. It has no other agenda than my wellbeing, and living an authentic life filled with meaning and goodness. But me, I’ve got a bunch of other agendas:
I want to help. This is such a chronic response in me. Maybe I over-help? Maybe I’m addicted to helping?
I value kindness and compassion.
I want to save others and resolve their problems. Is this how I give myself value? Like I’m only worthy if I am of help to others…
I want to help them feel better.
I don’t trust that they can handle their own business.
I feel sorry for them.
I want to hang on to a relationship, and fear it will come to an end if I say no.
In a way, when I say yes, it’s a lie. I’m not giving my real authentic answer.
I had a wise therapist who said that it was better for your health to choose to say no, and feel guilty, than to say yes, and feel resentment (it’s that toxic.)
My friend Lori-Ann, who is an awesome composer and spiritual teacher, talks about having reverence for your self. Reverence is not a word that we use a lot these days. It means holding yourself in high esteem and respect. For me, it means learning to listen to my inner voice as my most trusted guidance. It means, standing up for myself with a gentle no, or a more forceful no, when it is required. It means enthusiastically saying yes when I know that’s my real answer.
If I say no to someone and they get angry, it doesn’t mean I should have said yes.
If I say no to someone and they don’t like me anymore, it doesn’t mean I should have said yes.
I take good care of myself by saying no when it is needed.
I solidly stand by myself.
No one needs me to rescue them. They are grown ups capable of leading their own lives, and making their own decisions.
I can love without over-helping.
I am free.
PS. Lori-Ann's music is such a beautiful way to slow down, and take the time to connect with your inner voice. You can listen to her latest compositions here:
PPS. I am here if you have any questions about self-talk. Get in touch with me: