yes, thank you and NO

No? Who says, “no?” I am good at saying “no” to my little munchkin, but I am not good at saying “no” to anyone else. I have a gut feeling there are more of you out there like me.

For instance, my mother, my grandmother, my sister… well just about my whole family was born with a big guilt button and we all know how to press each others. My mom makes me feel guilty, her mom makes her feel guilty, I make them feel guilty, my sister makes everyone feel guilty. Shesh. How exhausting.

Patsy Clairmont said to wake up in the morning and say, “Yes to God, thank you and then no.” It was so easy for me to remember the “yes” and “thank you” part, but “no?” I couldn’t even say “no” to myself.

Many of us are just wired this way. We are so extremely worried about hurting other people’s feelings that we will hurt ourselves over and over again and hurt the ones closest to us.

And that hurt shines through. People can almost always tell our motives in doing something: if we are doing it for God and because we love to do it or if we are doing it out of guilt.

Guess what I learned? It is okay to say “no.” When we are wired with reacting only to emotions and tip toeing around our fear of hurting people’s feelings, we are bound to have a breakdown. We get exhausted. We take out our stress on other people, and they don’t deserve that – and we don’t deserve the stress.

Now there is another side to it. I do things that I don’t want to do because it brings someone else happiness – and that makes it all worth it. But if there is something that I can look at and see mostly stress, exhaustion, worry and guilt boiling in it, I know the result won’t be worth it.

“No” is not a bad word yet we can barely spit it out. Those of us who don’t have “no” in our vocabulary get walked all over. We start doing everything for everybody else and the word spreads.

You can usually pin point if this is you because the asker’s already have it planned out. They start with “Hey, would you mind babysitting tonight?” The minute that “sure” spills out of your tired mouth, they already know what time they will drop the child off, when they will pick them up and barely squeeze in a “thanks!” before hanging up. It is just expected of us notorious “yes”-ers.

Now, mother’s would do anything for their children, right? We wouldn’t do anything that would hurt them and protect them with all we got.

Well, draining ourselves with constantly saying “yes” to things we don’t want to do is hurting our children, our husbands and everyone that is close to us. We come home and don’t want to make dinner because we are exhausted, we have emotional breakdowns because we’ve kept it all in, and while our family sees the stress and tiredness coming out from throwing that dinner party, we manage and smile to everyone else like it was no problem.

Who is that hurting? You and everyone close that is closest to you while you save minor hurt feelings of others.

As a Christian, it is really difficult to say “no” when someone is wanting help. We want to be nice and lead a good example. But again, we must look at the motives.

Are we doing it because we care or are we doing it to gain approval, avoid confrontation or compete? If we are doing it for the last three motives, you are better off saying “no.” And boy does it feel good! Trust me, you’ll love the feeling.

Mother Theresa said, “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”

Don’t do something if you really don’t want to do it because more people suffer – including yourself. Practice saying “no.” I will be.

“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.” Proverbs 15:17

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