Do you say YES when you mean NO?

yes NO maybeWhether implicitly or explicitly, people in our lives are often asking us for something. Then, following some internal social protocol (that perhaps we’ve come to believe is a rule), we respond “appropriately”. Maybe your version of appropriate is not to offend the other person, or keep them happy, or to make them like you. One habitual way we do that (in the short term at least) is by saying “yes” when we mean “no”. Too often, none of those justifications of appropriateness serve your best interests. Either you’ve committed to something you know you’re not likely to do (and damaged trust in the relationship), or you’ve committed to something that is NOT consistent with your priorities and values in your current reality.

For those of us learning to live with a chronic illness or disability, saying “yes” when meaning “no” is likely a “before we got sick” habit we can no longer afford. But now, we just don’t have as much headroom for casually doing “extra” things.

So when you say “yes” and mean “no”, are you saving face at the expense of something you KNOW is important? Like your wellbeing, or your higher priorities of recovering and prevailing over your new limitations? Like reinventing a new normal with hope and faith for your new future?

I’ve let a lot of people down by saying “yes” when I meant “no” or “maybe”. I’ve made myself sick countless times by doing something that I knew was not in my best interests but pretending like the side-effects weren’t going to get me “this time”. When you do that, that is YOU getting in your own way.

Try this: Say YES ONLY when you mean yes, NO when you mean no and MAYBE when you mean maybe. It’s a practice. And it will get easier. And you’ll thank yourself for it…     ~Z