When we say: ‘I couldn’t say no.’
What we really mean is:
‘I was afraid if I said no that X would think less of me so I said yes.’
Or maybe ‘It’s really important to me that I take care of this person so I said yes.’
Or ‘To disappoint X would be excruciating for me and I’d rather let myself down than them so I said yes.’
And then there’s this old chestnut: ‘I haven’t got time.’
Aka: ‘I’m choosing to spend my time doing other things.’
Language matters. It‘s powerful. It makes the difference between feeling empowered or powerless by the choices we make.
When we tell ourselves ‘I’m stuck in this job’, for example, we automatically take away our power to do anything about it. We perpetuate that feeling of stuckness.
And what’s more, it’s not true.
What we really mean is: ‘I’m prioritising financial security/status/comfort for the time being so I’m choosing to stay at this job.’
Which is perfectly valid, as long as we own it.
We are always at choice in our reactions and our actions. And there’s nothing more disempowering than pretending that’s not the case through the way we explain things to ourselves.
Tell yourself the truth. You deserve it.
It doesn’t mean being harsh with yourself. This isn’t a licence for your inner mean girl to come out blazing with her pom-poms-that-are-really-
It means being curious and gentle and REAL. Respecting yourself enough to gently, firmly call out your BS. To notice where you’re hiding out, pretending that your hands are tied. And if you’re thinking, yeah I get it but in this particular case, it doesn’t apply and MY HANDS ARE ACTUALLY TIED.
Go deeper. Keep gently, firmly challenging your perspective. Until you find that point where you did make a choice. Where you decided that you would honour an obligation above all else. Where you elected to prioritise one value which meant letting another be on the back burner for awhile.
When we tell the truth about the decisions we make, we’re better able to notice what drives our choices. Where they’re aligned with our inner wisdom and where we’re selling ourselves short.
We remember our power.