The Emotional Freedom of Saying ‘No’
All the passengers have boarded the plane, and the flight attendant takes her place at the head of the aisle. She instructs everyone to adjust and fasten seatbelts, move their trays and chairs to the upright position, and turn off all electronic devices. Then, she holds up a bright yellow oxygen mask. In the event of an emergency, she says, put your own mask on first. After all, you won’t be of any real help to anyone else if you can’t breathe yourself.
That’s important advice for airline travel, but even more important for daily life.
Only when we are functioning in a healthy, balanced way that’s in alignment with our values and beliefs can we truly be present, and be of service to others.
Too frequently we can find ourselves sacrificing things that are important to us just to attempt to please someone else. We’ve been diligent about adhering to a primarily live, raw, plant-based diet, but cave when mom insists we eat her famous homemade cinnamon rolls with extra icing.
We’ve been looking forward to a spiritual retreat weekend, but feel obligated to abandon our plans when a close friend decides to throw a huge party. We might even ethically disagree with a new policy at work, but stay silent to keep from ‘rocking the boat.’
Any time we fail to maintain good emotional boundaries, even thought we might think we’re keeping the peace, our actions will actually have the opposite effect. Over time, repeatedly suppressing our true feelings will inevitably lead to deep resentment.
The stress of denying what we feel is the better, more authentic choice can actually have physical repercussions. Stomach churning, sweaty palms, rapid breathing and elevated blood pressure are frequent results of swallowing our emotions. Negative emotions create an acidic body chemistry that robs minerals from our bones, organs, tissues and cells.
When we’ve fallen into a habit of people-pleasing, it can be challenging to start saying ‘No’ and take back our power. We can begin with first getting in touch with what we truly feel.
- Imagine yourself taking the time to do something you know is good for you, like meditating, exercising or journaling. Do you feel any hesitancy or guilt? If so, say an empowering statement, like, “I release all guilt to the light.”
- Affirmations are an excellent way to embrace your emotions and start to set good boundaries. “I give myself the gift of time to nourish my spirit” is a powerful start.
- After years of saying ‘Yes’ when you didn’t want to, it might be hard to distinguish between what you think others expect from you, and what you truly desire. Tap directly into your higher self by thinking of a specific question, like, “Do I want to go to that event?” Then immediately, imagine that you’re seeing a traffic light in your mind’s eye. What color light is lit? If it’s red, your answer is ‘No.’ Green means go for it! Yellow suggests that you proceed, but cautiously.
With a little practice, we can change old patterns of going along with something into the emotionally freeing option of just saying, unapologetically, “No!” It’s definitely a positive new behavior that will have us breathing easier.
Experience the emotional freedom of nurturing yourself first with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Join us as we celebrate 40 years of holistic healing. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.