Your First “No”

Holy Shit! I almost cried in a session today. Well okay. So, I did. So what? You would have too because it was such a celebration.

My client said “NO!”

And was LIVING AND BREATHING in my office to tell about it!!

I don’t have kids, but I kinda get that proud parent feeling now. I was so dang happy for her and ALL the HARD WORK she’s done to get to a place where “No” was an option.

If you’ve got a caretaker part of your personality, you’ll completely get what I’m putting down. To realize we have a CHOICE in the orchestration of our lives is mind blowing! And its starts to change shit for the better. 

The transition I witness my clients make around boundaries encourages, inspires and holds me to walk the talk outside of our little safe laboratory of the therapy office. 

Codependency and people pleasing are painful ya’ll. And it takes some serious self-commitment to alter the well-worn path of putting yourself last.

Saying “No” indicates you are able to consider how this request will impact and affect YOU. And in the caretaker/I-make-everyone’s-life-better world, when we think of ourselves, we risk being seen as…

Selfish (ugh! What a death sentence!) 


Not part of the team

Not a “good” friend/neighbor/sibling/coworker

And ultimately, we risk rejection and being alone. 

Tough stuff to deal with. 

By the time these million non-self-centered decisions accumulate, we can feel like we are too far down the path of being the caretaker and we cannot see the option of saying “No”. It simply doesn’t exist in our vocabulary because of all that is at stake. (See Big Bold Words Above!)

But this is precisely the place I often meet most of my clients. When they are war-worn from being constantly on call and accommodating. 

This is why I lost my composure in the session!

Because it takes a little bit of time to untangle the years of caretaking and yet when we do – BECAUSE WE CAN – (I’d tell you to call my client and ask her yourself but…confidentiality…so take a leap here and trust me!) – we feel such a sense of freedom and literal physical relief that we realize its not about other people’s happiness – its about OURS!

WE are the ones that walk away from interactions, where we have overcommitted due to fear of being seen as selfish, FEELING —>

-The residue of overwhelm from having to rearrange your calendar ONCE AGAIN to meet another person’s needs.

-Resentful of the other person for even asking in the first place! Shouldn’t they know I’m busy!

-Inner anger and maybe even RAGE at yourself for saying “Yes” AGAIN! What’s wrong with me!

That last one is the kicker. 

I love the term External Compliance and Inner Defiance.

We are saying “Yes” externally while inside we are SCREAMING “NOOOOOOOOO!” 

Unfortunately WE are the ONLY ones who FEEL the pain of that “Yes”.

This is why I wanted to share the awesome celebration of saying “No”!! Shifting the habit of being the perpetual helper is possible. I have done it in my personal life and I LOVE LOVE LOVE witnessing it in my client’s lives. 

If you are tired of an overwhelming calendar, that awful feeling of powerlessness that comes with internal anger and the heaviness of resenting the people in your social group… 

I’d love to help!