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What Will You Say NO To In 2022?

Updated: Jul 25, 2023


In this new year, let's prioritize how we show up for ourselves. The number one way to do this is by not committing to things that don't serve us well... mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Do you say yes to things and then immediately think, “Ughh, why did I do that?!!!!”

Do you say yes to assignments when you’re already burned out so you know you can’t do your best? Are you overworked, overstressed, and anxious because you constantly agree to things you don’t actually agree with? Do you commit to things, then back out at the last minute because you never really wanted to go in the first place?

Well, you’re not alone.

You may be afraid of disappointing people or concerned about what they think of you. No matter how hard you work, or how well you do, you stress over whether it’s enough. Or perhaps you feel responsible for how other people feel. And if someone is in a bad mood, you may question if it’s something you said or did.

So you over commit yourself to things. You take on so much; you end up taking care of everyone else and not taking care of yourself. This leaves you emotionally drained and stressed.

Being honest about what you want and need is crucial for your wellbeing.

The thing is, every time you say “yes” when you mean “no” you’re letting people disrespect your boundaries. These people more than likely mean no harm. How are they supposed to know you aren’t willing to do something if you don’t communicate it to them?

When this happens—when you've set the bar low where your boundaries are concerned because you haven’t put in the work to set them in place—you feel resentment, anger, and burnout. Because you end up doing things you actually don't want to do.

Or others end up doing things that make you uncomfortable. They keep doing these things because they’ve had no reason to believe it’s not ok. Or they don't even realize they’re overstepping a boundary in the first place. Either way, it’s up to you to change this.

Why we people-please

So where do these people pleasing tendencies come from?

People-pleasing is an innate human trait. We're compelled to make people happy because it gives us a sense of self-worth.

It's not an easy job to be a people-pleaser either. You always have to take care of what the other person wants, which can often result in you forgetting about yourself altogether.

Psychotherapist and clinical social worker Amy Morin says that “For many, the eagerness to please stems from self-worth issues. They hope that saying yes to everything asked of them will help them feel accepted and liked.”

The effect of this statement is eye-opening—if you say yes to things too often this could stem from you not feeling like you’re inherently “enough,” that your worth as a person is tied to arbitrary measures, like whether people like you. Did you hear that?

This may be a tough pill to swallow, but it makes sense. Why else would you say yes to things you don’t want to? Why else would you say yes to things that go against your own wellbeing?

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How Do You Say No?

Build self-awareness

First things first. In order to change any behavior, you must first identify it by growing your self-awareness. You can do this in several ways: Journaling, seeking counsel (from your spiritual leader or counselor), looking at yourself objectively, or self-reflecting. Reflection is a necessary factor in building self-awareness. Building a habit of reflection will help you become more and more cognizant of your actions as you’re doing them.

So step 1 is to start building a practice of self-awareness, of knowing what you’re doing and why.

For example, when you say “yes,” is it because you’re feeling pressured? Do you feel obligated, even though you know there isn’t anything set in place yet?

Start examining how you feel during these interactions. You can also ask yourself how you would feel if you said “no.” This can be enlightening to you and help you identify your feelings.

Identify Where These Tendencies And Feelings Stem From

If you’re a people pleaser, it’s probably because you've been conditioned to be one from a young age. Examining your past and discovering where these tendencies and feelings come from can be very helpful in breaking the habit. Because we can only see the world through our own perspective, it’s easy to confuse what is our actual reality with our perception of events.

For example, this is basically the reality of culture shock. You realize that many of your assumptions, habits, and boundaries are not universal truths, but the product of the culture you were raised in. And this can be a harsh reality for some people.

The point is, when you realize when and how you developed or picked up certain tendencies, it gives you the power to make an honest assessment of where you are.

You can now see that, “Oh, things don’t have to be this way. These feelings are just a result of my experiences. Just because I feel like I’m letting everyone down doesn’t mean I actually am in reality.” You've now put a spotlight on your tendencies and the emotions behind them. This gives you the ability to see your people-pleasing habit, which allows you to address it.

Remember, it’s not selfish to take care of yourself first

When you're not being taken for granted, this puts you in a place where you can truly do for others. Now you have the energy to do nice things because you want to, not because you feel you have to in order to earn their approval.

Not only does this make your actions more sincere, but you’ll feel better about it too, because you're not holding on to resentment.


And finally, you need to start accepting yourself. You need to remind yourself that you are enough. Your value as a person doesn’t depend on what other people think (or don’t think) of you.

Once you accept yourself, you’ll find that you take better care of yourself and others. You’ll do things because you want to, because it lines up with your values as a person. You’ll stop running yourself into the ground, trying to make everyone like you.

Not everyone will like you. That’s just how it is. And you can’t control who likes you anyway, even if you do everything “right". Start accepting yourself for who God made you to be and confidently walk in your authenticity. You’ll find yourself in a much better and happier place mentally. Because now you've become a more thriving version of yourself... empowering you to easily identify what you will or won't say yes to. So let's make this year count and refuse those things that don't serve us well. So what will you say NO to in 2022?

Song of Solomon 4:7, Psalm 139:14, Jeremiah 17:7, 2 Timothy 1:7, Philippians 4:13; 3:13

All Rights Reserved copyright© 2012-2022 "The Cultured Life" blog by Michell Pulliam

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