One of the hardest things for many women to do is to say no. As wives, mothers and friends, we live much of our lives as caregivers. As a result, we begin to think other people’s wishes must take precedence over our own.
We’ve often heard that we need to say “No” more. If we don’t, we’ll end up sick, tired, or broke because we aren’t taking care of ourselves. But it goes beyond the usual self-care advice. I’d like to explore how being sick, tired or broke is actually serving you on some level and what you can do about it.
As Long As You Have a Good Excuse
Many people take on projects and tasks that are out of alignment with who they are and what they are here to do because they don’t know how to say, “No.” Many of us take on too much and wear ourselves out, sacrificing our health and peace of mind on the altar of having to say “Yes” to more than we can adequately manage.
When that becomes more than we can bear, we shift to excuses-making. After all, you need a good excuse to say, “No” – right? Most of us feel we do. If we don’t have a “good enough excuse,” there’s guilt. Guilt can be so uncomfortable our minds search for a way out.
Growing up, if I or one of my siblings made an excuse for why we couldn’t do something, my dad would say, “Well, as long as you have a good excuse.”
He wanted us to understand that we were making excuses. We were searching for a way out. He wanted us to be aware we were only fooling ourselves with our excuses. Did we really need the excuse?
Often, people who have a hard time saying “No” end up in these types of situations:
Leading incredibly busy lives which become unbalanced. Busy-ness becomes the excuse that justifies why we can’t do one more thing.
For many years, I was a workaholic. I used my busy-ness as a badge of honor. I derived my value from my busy-ness. It also gave me an excuse to get out of doing things I didn’t want to do. I was too chicken to say, “No,” so I just stayed busy with things I’d rather be doing.
Becoming sick. Bodies often become sick in order to give us a guilt-free excuse to say, “No.” I’ve worked with several clients who discovered that their illnesses were actually serving them. Being sick gave them an excuse to decline other people’s demands or to get out of doing things they were scared to do. These were real, legitimate illnesses, certainly not in their minds, but their bodies were trying to speak to them and get their attention through dis-ease.
This is especially common when there are other people in one’s life who will not take “No” for an answer. People who are prone to manipulating, guilt-tripping, and nagging often make others feel trapped. The person who is being manipulated actually becomes sick because there seems to be no other viable “excuse” that the manipulator will accept.
Of course, there are a myriad of reasons for illnesses. This is just one to consider.
Having money problems. If you have money problems, you can use, “I have to work” or “I don’t have the money for that” as excuses not to do what you are too afraid, lazy or scared to do.
For example, it might be that you don’t know how to say “No” to your children, and you’re afraid of spoiling them if you buy them too much. Your subconscious mind might work around those tough conversations and boundary-setting by making sure you have little spending money.
Who Owns Your Power?
Bottom line, the root issue is that we are abdicating our personal power to other people. When we get tired of abdicating our power to other people, we shift to advocating it to the excuse. The excuse takes over our lives. We become overwhelmed, sick or money-strapped.
The solution is simple… we take back responsibility for our own choices. We understand that we are the creators of our own lives. Each person has the freedom to choose how he or she will spend time, money, resources and energy. We have a God-given right to do that, and we owe no one an excuse.
Our wishes, feelings, and needs are every bit as important as anyone else’s. If you do not take care of yourself, certainly no one else will.
The Price You Pay for Excuses
When you give over your power to the excuse, you can’t do what you are on this planet to do. Your energy, health, time and money is sucked down the black hole of the excuse. There’s nothing left for your divine purpose. On top of that, you’re miserable.
Have an Honest Conversation with Yourself
If you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios, I recommend the following activity.
Obviously, these challenges are very real for you. You probably didn’t even know why they were happening until now. It’s not like you consciously set out to make yourself sick or miserable. But there is some self-preserving part of you that is trying to protect you. It’s time to have a conversation with that part of yourself. Here are the steps for doing that.
First, admit that you are using health challenges, busyness, or money issues as an excuse to get out of what you don’t want to do. Really absorb and see that you are doing this. What are you trying to get out of? Why are you trying to get out of it? Are you afraid? Are you scared to have tough conversations with others? Do you have inaccurate beliefs about what is possible for you?
Second, thank the part of yourself that has been trying to rescue you. Thank it for the health, money or busyness issues. There is a part of you that is trying to help you say, “No.” Thank this part of yourself that understands you haven’t been setting clear boundaries with yourself and others. Ask it to forgive you for not taking better care of yourself and not standing in your power.
Tell it that you forgive it for making you tired, sick and/or broke and that you understand now that it was trying to protect you. Thank it for getting your attention and bringing you to the point where you have the courage to own your own power.
Third, commit to growing a spine and saying “No” without guilt, without excuse. If you don’t want to do something, you have every right to say “No”… And you don’t owe a soul an explanation why.
Fourth, make a commitment to honor yourself and set clear boundaries about what you will and won’t do.
Fifth, strike a deal with yourself. Continue the conversation with your self-preserving side. Work out a win-win solution.
You might say something like this,
“Thank you for giving me health challenges so that I would have a guilt-free excuse to say ‘No’ to things I didn’t want to do or that felt unsafe. I appreciate you trying to protect me. Please forgive me for not setting and honoring clear boundaries with myself and others.
I now see that I don’t need to be sick anymore just to have an excuse. I have a right to say ‘No.’ From now on, I’m going to stand up for myself. Thank you for the health issues. Obviously, I don’t need them anymore because I hereby commit to set clear boundaries and honor and value myself by sticking to them. Thank you. Let’s please work together toward a healthier, better way of living.”
Sixth, clean out any victim energy, past trauma, unhealthy habits, or unproductive guilt using energy techniques. Personally, I use the SimplyHealed Method™ to quickly and painlessly get down to root issues and release them. I’ve used these techniques since 2011, with both myself and my clients. It’s powerful in bringing you peace, hope and the courage to take control of your own life. (Learn more here.)
Remember: Change is good! And it’s okay to ask for help. As you do these steps and as you take care of yourself, you’ll begin to create a more abundant life. You’ll begin to realize your full potential.
Featured Image Copyright: Tuzenko / BigStockPhoto.com