Betty-Ann's Both Sides Blog

Let Go of Fear and Guilt and Say “No”

Let Go of Fear and Guilt and Say no blog thumbnail

Do you have a difficult time saying “No” to family and friends? By saying “Yes” to everyone, you are recklessly giving away all your valuable energy. It is no different than filling your lap with a pile of one-hundred dollar bills, opening the window on your car and then speeding down the highway. Your energy will quickly become a distant memory just like that money!

If you have trouble saying no, it could be that you are motivated by a genuine desire to help but it could also be that you are acting out of fear or guilt. Think of someone to whom you have trouble saying no. It could be a co-worker who downloads their work on you, a child who ropes you into doing their school assignments or a friend who asks you to lie for them.

Now think of an instance where you said yes when you really meant no. Of what were you afraid? Upon closer examination, you’ll likely see that you were acting in response to a series of fears or from a deep-seeded but defective belief system that causes endless guilt.

Let me share a personal example – I have trouble saying no to my husband. A couple of years ago he went to Arizona and left me at home, recovering from a detached retina. When he asked if it was OK for him to go, I didn’t say no and my yes wasn’t authentic. What did I fear in responding that way?

The list is long (and irrational, but that is how fear works right?). I was afraid that if I said no to my husband: he would be disappointed and unhappy; he would think I wasn’t evolved; he wouldn’t want to spend time with me; he would think I am a poor sport; he would withhold affection; and I would lose his love.

After feeling resentful for the entire time that he was gone, I now realize that if I had said no to him, I would have said yes to myself. He didn’t abandon me – it was me who abandoned me!

The irony is that, in trying to avoid negative feelings between us, I created them. The entire time he was gone I was angry with him and in my mind reviewed every small infraction he ever committed. By the time he came home I was resentful and looked for ways to punish him. Understandably, he was confused believing that he had received the “out pass”.

Saying yes due to “fear of the consequences” is a downward cycle. And as I proved, the outcome of saying yes or no can be the same. Although he enjoyed being in Arizona, I was so difficult when he got home he was indeed disappointed and unhappy, concluded I was acting childish and withheld affection. Much that I feared would happen if I said no happened anyway in spite of my saying yes.

I also said yes to his trip because I felt guilty saying no. Somewhere along the line I established a belief system that a good daughter, spouse or friend is always there for others and always says yes. Believing that it was my job to make him happy I sacrificed my needs for his.

This is typical of women, who are the worst at saying no. Naturally imbued with Feminine Energy we are so concerned with others we’ll say yes when we mean no, putting their happiness ahead of ours. Obviously, it is counterproductive.

I have learned that saying yes when I mean no robs me of my peace so instead of making others feel good, all I do is pass along my stress and anxiety.  Thus, no is now my initial position- I can always change the answer to yes later! And when I do say yes it is with full enthusiasm and without the uneasiness of lingering doubts.

The ability to say no comes from your Masculine Energy. This independent, self-sufficient energy is present in both genders but due to nature or nurture women may have to work harder to activate it. We don’t have to apologize for setting boundaries and taking care of our health. As Arianna Huffington says, “no is a complete sentence”.

Saying no to others sends a message to myself that I can be trusted. Others pick that up and feel that they can trust me too. I have learned that if I want to preserve my energy bank account and live authentically, I must say no when I mean no. It may disappoint others in the short-term but, over the long-term, it builds courage and eliminates guilt. And I am healthier for it!

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