It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide on what to do.
I think we are all aware of the problems we cause ourselves when we say Yes to things and we really
want to say No. We become overburdened, resentful, and our time is no longer our own. To stop this
behavior, we need to look no further than the mirror. We say Yes when No is desperately trying to escape our lips. Only we can determine why we do this.
Are we on a never ending quest for others to like us? Do we like to play the martyr? Do we think so
little of ourselves that we believe we don’t have value and deserve nothing, so we devote all of our
time to others?
Once we figure out why we’re saying Yes, we need to set boundaries. Maybe it involves reserving one or two nights to be with our family. Maybe we should set aside an afternoon that is strictly for us
to indulge in a guilty pleasure. Whatever the boundaries are, the important thing is that we begin enforcing
them consistently. Eventually, other people will respect our needs, and we will begin to respect ourselves.
But what about when we say No and we really want to say Yes? What do we do about that? I had a friend who wanted to go back to school and take art classes. Yet, when it came time to enroll, she
always had some excuse. She was too busy, she would have to miss several classes or she didn’t have
the money to pay for school. My intuition told me that the real reason she continually said No was fear. Whether it was fear of failure or fear of success, I believe fear was holding her back.
Someone once told me that fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Our brain can paint vivid pictures of everything that can go wrong if we do something. In my friend’s case, her brain was probably painting pictures of her being the oldest person in a class of much younger students. Or maybe it was a picture of her drawing stick figures while the rest of the class was drawing so much better. Or perhaps her brain was just telling her “This is a dumb idea so just forget it.” Thoughts like that are bound to keep anyone from pursuing their dream.
I prefer a different acronym for fear – Face Everything And Respond. When we run from our fears, we give them power. But, when we face our fears, we hold all the power. Eleanor Roosevelt said “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Remember that the next time you are tempted to say No when you really want to say Yes.
Following these steps will help you plow through your fears:
. Think of something you want to do but don’t because you are afraid of what might happen.
. Say to yourself “If I did xyz, what’s the worst that could happen?” Then write it down.
. Next ask yourself if that worst thing happened, what then. Write that down.
. Continue asking yourself the “what then” question after each response. Like peeling away the layers of an onion, you will soon get to the core issue and realize that no matter how bad your imagination has made it seem, you will still be alive and well – and stronger for having tried.
I would love to hear from you if you have had success in facing a fear or if you are still struggling. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you.