I often have clients ask me: how do I say No?
Well, whenever a client is struggling in a relationship at home or at work or anywhere in their world - to say no, to set good boundaries - I first speak to them about codependency.
(See previous blog Am I Codependent?: www.zoewaggoner.com/blog-sacred-life-healing)
Once the client begins, hopefully with curiosity, to learn more about themselves and how all of this plays out, we can really begin to do some deeper work and even help the client learn to say NO!
Here are the steps that the inimitable Brene Brown brenebrown.com/ outlined in a talk I heard her give.
First, it is important that you think YOU are important enough to even consider saying NO! NO! Are you? If so, continue reading.
If someone asks you do to something, say:
1. "Thank you for asking. Let me think about it." If they persist, you persist: thank you for asking: let me think about it. ( In the old assertiveness training days it was called 'playing the broken record by saying the same thing over and over until the other person 'got it' and stopped. "Thank you for asking. Let me think about it." ) Give yourself some time to think about it: hours, days..???
2. THINK about it. If you said yes, would you end up resenting the task or the person who asked you? Would you be taking away from 'you time', from your family, your life? Your enjoyment? Your peace of mind? Would saying yes add to the stress in your life?
(Of course, the subtext here is 'will they like me if I say no'? See if...just see if you can let that go and ask about your quality of life and what you would lose/miss out on/enjoy IF YOU SAID YES.)
3. Go back to the person and either say YES with confidence you will not resent them or say NO because you are not willing to sacrifice what is important to you. Say: "thank you for asking me, but I am not going to be able to do...." or, "thank you for asking, I have to say NO." Once again, if they try to insist or bully you, stick to your message: "thank you for asking me and I am not going to be able to...." or "I have to say no."
I would suggest practicing this with some in your life who are particularly hard to say NO to. I had to practice this to be able to say NO to my Mom. She was insistent often and of course, I felt guilty if I said NO. However, I OFTEN resented whatever it was I ended up doing. It wasn't that I did not love my Mom or want to help her, but too often her requests could have been met by herself or my brothers, who lived much closer to her than I did. But she did not ask them - for a long time - because she wanted them to love her and not see her as helpless. And she knew I was a 'helper' and had a hard time saying NO. And she used her guilt and shaming statements to try and 'bully me' into saying yes.
It took me some time and eventually I learned to say NO to her. And she learned to ask my brothers - who wanted to help. And I regained my self-respect and quality of life. I said yes when I genuinely could help without knowing I would resent her - and myself ultimately - for not setting healthy boundaries.
Self-respect. Quality of life. Are those qualities important to you? If you need help saying NO - call me: 360-432-1236.
Do you consistently put other's needs before your own? Think, plan...spend most of your life energy thinking of others? Finding all kinds of excuses NOT to take care of you? If this is you, you might want to read on.
"Codependency involves sacrificing one’s personal needs to try to meet the needs of others. Someone who is codependent has an extreme focus outside themselves. Their thoughts and actions revolve around other people, such as spouses or relatives." Read more here:
And, if you would like some help: real, practical help and healing, call me: 360-432-1236!
I sometimes call myself a 'somatic archaeologist'. Why, you may ask? Well, many of you have heard me say that in the last twenty or so years the mental health field has had to begin including the body in the healing process. For too long it was believed that 'healing' happened in the realm of the mind. That talking and thinking and delving deeper into memories, just through talk, could provide lasting and sustainable changes. Changes that would bring more joy, better relationships, an improved life. For isn't that what we all want?
But for many of us who are oriented to our mind and our body, just talking about change was not doing more than a 'feel good solution' that did not last. Was not sustainable. And I know because in addition to providing traditional talk therapy, I was a client working on my own issues. And frankly I felt unsatisfied with my progress - or lack thereof - and became pretty convinced that although not intentional, I was not helping clients to find lasting change. The kind that really could change their lives.
If you were a little bird in my office today, I am not sure you would ever overhear me with a client not talking about their body. Where do you feel or sense it in your body is a common mantra in sessions. "Drop into your body I might say: put your hand where you sense the tightness or nausea, the dark hole or angry fire." And we go from there, dropping into the memories to transform them. Dropping into and healing whatever needs to be healed and transformed.
In the 1970's research began that would make huge changes in our understanding of the mind-body connection. Dr. Candace Pert was one of the first researchers in this area, going on to write a book called "Molecules of Emotion". Here is a quote from the New York Times after she died: “I’ve come to believe that virtually all illness, if not psychosomatic in foundation, has a definite psychosomatic component,” she wrote. The “molecules of emotion,” she argued, “run every system in our body,” creating a “bodymind’s intelligence” that is “wise enough to seek wellness” without a great deal of high-tech medical intervention."
Although I deeply believed in the intelligence of the body in holistic mind-body-soul healing, it was not until my training in 2005 at The Wellness Institute www.wellness-institute.org/ that I began to actually learn how to use the body, the memories stored in the body that are actually much more accurate than those held in the mind, to transform and heal clients' trauma. Emotional wounding.
So, dropping into our bodies means dropping into healing the entire system that we are. Try it out: the next time you think you are sad, angry..betrayed, fearful...find the sensation in your body that corresponds to the feeling and put your hand there. What is your body trying to tell you? Give it a voice. Learn. Grow. Change.