“A guilt-ridden “Yes”, 99% of the time is meant to be a compassionate “No”. ~LMB
If you’re a people pleaser, you no doubt are familiar with the “guilt-ridden yes”. The guilt –ridden yes is that yes you say because you “feel bad” saying no. These yes’s are voiced because:
• You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings
• You don’t want others to be mad/hurt/jealous
• You want everyone to like you
• You don’t want to be mean
• You feel like you “should”
The problem with saying yes because you feel too guilty to say no is that you don’t mean it—your heart’s not in it. In fact, your heart’s fully behind the “No”. You’d rather not watch your sister’s kids—again, or lend your friend money—again, or have the party at your house rather than someone else’s house. The problem though, is you don’t feel you have the right to say no—especially if you’re not busy or you do have the money to lend or (fill in the blank). And herein lies the problem: thinking you don’t have the right to say no—or that saying no is somehow being unkind, leads to resentment and burnout. And that leads to struggles in your relationships.
When we say yes out of guilt, sooner or later resentment seeps in. When we feel resentment, we start to interact in an annoyed, standoffish way. Often we also begin to feel like a victim. We start getting angry that we’re the ones always giving in the relationship and no one else reciprocates. We then can oscillate between giving even more in an effort to “get” others to see how much we do or choosing to give nothing to teach others a lesson. Neither move is helpful.
If you find yourself constantly trying to please others with your guilt-ridden yes’s, recognize that this is your choice. No one is “making” you say yes. Begin to track your yes’s and how they leave you feeling. If you feel resentful, annoyed or “put out”, then rethink your answer. If you can change it—do so. If you can’t change it this time, then remember this feeling in the future, learn from it and practice compassionately saying no the next time. And always remember, if you can’t say, “No”, then, your “Yes” is not a yes.
Challenge: Constantly saying yes to others is being unkind to you. Stop the guilt-ridden yes’s and instead take the time to think about what you really want to say. And then say it.
And by the way—if you do say yes, then do so with a good spirit and take full ownership for your decision.