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How to Lovingly Say No to Family - Even After You’ve Said Yes




I am a recovering people pleaser and workaholic. I refer to these sides of myself as my Caretaker and my Achiever.

As part of my journey, to heal I have had to put these sides of myself behind me and develop another version of “these people” who have ruled my life for so long. I couldn’t get rid of them as they have brought me the lessons in my life I needed to get me to where I am today. I had to learn to honor them, to listen to why they had the fears, the thoughts of rejection, the thoughts of having to prove my worth through doing. I had to learn what they were trying to protect me from.


To honor what they have brought me in my life, yet to allow them to know I no longer need them to protect me in that capacity, they have been given new jobs. That of my Self-Lover and my Warrior. (More to come in the future on those).


Although, they have new jobs…they still come back every now and again…just to double-check…I’ve really got this ;-)


One such situation happened recently when I ended up saying yes to my sister, when all I really wanted to say was no.


Her daughter was sick and she needed me to cover her shift at work. She’d already asked other co-workers and they were not able to help.


I didn’t have anything on the calendar, however, I had planned to work on things for launching my new business during that time. But because I didn’t have any “appointments on the calendar,” I didn’t want to be an asshole and say no to my sister as I knew she wanted to be home with her daughter, AND I didn’t want to disappoint our clients by canceling lessons, I said “yes”.


And then…the resentment started.


After sitting and stewing for a couple of hours…


On a walk I went, to ruminate as to why I was feeling resentful.


As I contemplated where this was coming from I realized it was because I was mad at myself, because forever I have put everyone and everything before myself. And when I finally have a little bubble of time, with no appointments, no school, nothing but time to work on my stuff, it gets interrupted. And because there is nothing necessarily scheduled, there are no “appointments,” I’m supposed to do the “right thing” for my family and our clients and NOT honor myself and the time that I had set aside to work on my stuff.


But how to explain this to my sister? And how could I honor myself and not honor her? AHHH!! The thought process was maddening.


****


I was going in circles and couldn’t figure it out myself.


Finally, I had to let go…and ask for help to allow me to find the answer. And it came in the form of a book, The Boundary Boss, by Terry Cole. A book I was reading for school. I went home, randomly opened the book, and there at the top of the page was “Tapping Into Body Wisdom.”


From there the following letter was formed:


“I had to take some time to sit and reflect on how I was feeling about our interaction today and needed to write it out to make sure I can even understand how I am feeling as I wanted to be honest with you and myself.


The only way I can make sense of it is to feel in to what is going on in my body and not in my mind. When you first asked me to work for you, I said I would do it even though my chest was restricted and everything in me wanted to say no.


I ignored that feeling because that is what family does, right? We are there for each other, no matter what, even if we don’t want to do it. I know that is what society has taught us, what was engrained as we were growing up, that we do for family before we do for ourselves. Family comes first. I dare to ask…is that really right?? Does family really come before ourselves and what is the line?


And to even contemplate putting myself first causes all the negative thoughts to come in that I am a bad and selfish person because I don’t want to do it. I don’t really have anything “scheduled”, so I should say yes. So of course I would say yes…even though my insides were saying no. And then, like you said, the resentment starts.


As I contemplated where this was coming from I realized it was because I was mad at myself, because forever I have put everyone and everything before myself. And when I finally have a little bubble of time, with no appointments, no school, nothing but time to work on my stuff, it gets interrupted. And because there is nothing necessarily scheduled, there are no “appointments,” I’m supposed to do the “right thing” for my family and our clients and not honor myself and the time that I had set aside to work on my stuff.


I could tell you the “story” behind the urgency I feel for me working on my stuff tomorrow, but that is not important. I also get that the world won’t end if it doesn’t happen, and I get it’s only 2 hours in the water, and that I will figure out a way to get it done regardless, however, what I’ve just told myself is that honoring myself and my time is not as important as making my sister and our clients happy.


Realizing this, I had to see if I could come up with a solution that will honor your need to be home with Ade and will also honor myself and my time. I believe the best win-win is to cancel the lessons for tomorrow. We just simply say we do not have anyone to cover the shift and put a make-up on everyone’s account, as much as we don’t want to do that. We can figure out how to get the make-up for them later at a time that works for both of us.


Even writing this I still feel guilty, I still feel like a bad person for trying to honor myself and setting my boundaries around my time when everyone has so little of it these days.


And I’m also going to put on my big girl pants and honor the boundary I have of my time and “say no” anyway, even though I’d already said “yes.”


I know this is hard to hear and I know we are all working on loving ourselves, establishing our boundaries and trying to navigate how this looks and how it all works. I know I still have a lot of learning to do around this and also know we don’t have to understand why the boundary is important to the person, we just have to understand it is and honor it to the best of our ability.


I believe by starting to honor ourselves first, we are also able to understand and honor other people better as well…especially when it’s hard.

Love you always…even when we are angry at each other.”


***


That message was sent at 10:10pm. I went to bed feeling anxious yet also knew I had spoken my truth (no matter what) and was proud of my newly developing Self-Lover (honoring myself) and Warrior (courage to speak my truth). I did it! I really did it!!


The next morning at 3:52 am I got this reply:


“Beautifully said and I hear you.


Thank you for this gift of your words and of honoring both of our boundaries and the voice of the universe, you stated it as the “urgency” to work on your stuff.


I love you!!!!! From the earth to the moon, to the stars and beyond.


Forever friends, yin and yang, soul guides, and most importantly sisters.”


Now…I am really fortunate…my sister is also on her journey of healing and self-discovery. I couldn’t have said the same 4 months ago…she wanted to gouge my eyes out. Literally. That story is for the future.


So what happens if you don’t get that response? If you can’t find a win-win?


If the person does not hear your words and is still angry with you?


Then that person is not ready to hear them. AND that is NOT on you!!! They are caught in their “stuff”, their wounded survival patterns, and cannot hear clearly enough to see that you are honoring yourself and lovingly and respectfully speaking your truth.


If they cannot hear that and want to take their anger out on you then you need to make the decision to lovingly disengage. Let them know you notice they are “triggered”/angry and are giving them the space to calm down and come back to the table (if it’s necessary) when they are ready and open to listen. Then leave that space!!


This is the point in your life, where you start noticing the people who are going to become players of your new game, or if it’s time for them to drop out. Those decisions are never easy…that’s where your Self-Lover and Warrior have to really step up and you need to be true to yourself.


If they are worth fighting for, then fight for them…but that means growth on both sides. It’s not a 1-way street. You can’t change them, you can only continue to grow, speak your truth and hold the space for them to be able to do the same. That is solely up to them and whether they are ready to fight for you too…whether they are ready to LEVEL UP with you.


It’s not an easy journey…in fact it can be FUCKING hard. But, oh, it’s so rewarding…watching the “Magic” happen!!


And there is SO MUCH MAGIC if you allow it!!!


If you are ready to LEVEL UP and feel the “Magic”, please see my offerings! https://www.rediscoveringsoulmagic.com/



 


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