Sunday, November 13, 2011

Let No be NO

"Make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by earth, for it is His footstool, ... nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black ... but let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything more than that comes from evil."  - Matthew 5:34 - 37

I've always concentrated on the first part of the above passage, where we're told not to swear an oath to back up the truth of what we say.  But that last part jumped out at me today. Especially the NO part.  I'm allowed to say no.

No is allowed.  Such a thought - three years ago - would have been unthinkable for me. 

Yes is good.  I like yes.  Yes makes people like me.  I have no trouble saying it, especially if it involves pleasing someone else.  I used to say yes to people so often that I spread myself too thinly and lost a sense of who I was in the process.  Then I started to resent the very people to whom I said yes, just because they started to expect the behavior from me that I had agreed to do out of generosity ... and I ended up feeling overworked and underappreciated.  

It happens a LOT.  To a lot of us, I would suspect.

Found through Google Images at:
I don't like saying no.  I never used to say it unless I was at my wit's end and then it came out as a red-faced shout. So I got the reputation of having a temper problem ... when in fact my problem wasn't my temper.  It was that I held it too long and allowed it to build up, afraid to say no, because it risked the person not liking me.  I remember - several years ago - failing a job interview because of a role-play where I had to say something that someone in front of me (who was playing the role of an angry person who didn't win a contract)  wasn't going to like.  I folded.  And I knew that it was a role play.  It was all an act.  The person wasn't really mad.  And yet I waffled and tried to appease the person.  How pathetic is that?...

When I started to get a sense of my own identity in this process of healing, I started to understand the necessity of saying NoAnd sticking with it!!  

At first, it was in fear and trembling.  The first time that I stood up for what I wanted, it was at work - and people didn't stop liking me!  What a revelation that was for me... that I could say No and the world wasn't going to end.  

No can be good.  No has come to my rescue and allowed me to set boundaries with people who are trying to take advantage or to manipulate or control me.  No can also save me from becoming over-extended.  It gives me time to look after myself.  

And No - best of all - helps my Yes to come from a place - not of burnout, but - of fulness.

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