I woke up feeling off. Something wasn’t right.
The night before – fine. This morning, filled with dread.
So what was happening?
Simple. One look at my calendar gave me the answer.
My day was filled with obligations to help people do things I didn’t really want to do.
Saying yes to things when I really wanted to say no.
It left me feeling exhausted before I even started!
If you have ever spent more time making withdrawals from your energy bank account than deposits, then you know what I was feeling.
I knew this feeling well. I’ve experienced this particular form of burn out many times over the years.
As the morning wore on and the time to leave approached, it wasn’t getting better.
You know when you fold a piece of paper over and over again and it gets smaller and smaller and tighter and tighter? That’s how my stomach felt.
Then I had a thought.
What if I didn’t go?
I tuned in to how that felt in my body because that is the only gauge that tells me the truth every time if I’m switched on enough to listen.
The thought of cancelling caused me to breathe a sigh of relief. There was my answer.
I know from self-reflection that anytime I’m feeling like a balled-up piece of paper it’s because I haven’t been as good to myself lately as I need to be.
But I know setting firm boundaries is necessary for a happy life. And I’m pretty good at it now. So how did I get here?
Easy. I’m a human being. I have a lot on my plate just like everyone else. And stories and limiting beliefs continue to affect me as I evolve. I just identify them quicker now.
We all have reasons we agree to do things we don’t want to do.
I will disappoint them if I don’t go.
They won’t like me if I don’t help.
What’s wrong with me – I should be able to handle all of this!
Who knows what was the particular story running through my mind at the time I agreed to this… and it doesn’t matter.
By practicing this over the years, I was able to figure it out before it was too late.
It’s like a muscle. The more you flex, the stronger it gets.
Here’s the process I use to determine what I’m truly feeling about a situation and how to move forward by using my inner guidance system:
- The minute you realize you’re feeling out of alignment, stop.
(Out of alignment is anytime that you’re feeling anger, resentment, dread, fear… that kind of thing).
- Take a breath and ask yourself: How does going to this event / doing this chore/ taking this job feel in my body? If you feel expansion, it’s a go. If you feel constriction, dive deeper before moving ahead with it.
- Ask yourself: What emotions am I feeling and are they correct?
(It’s really important here to allow your emotions without suppressing them).
- Then ask yourself: Is the above really true?
(I’m not talking about the facts of the situation; rather, the story surrounding it).
- If it isn’t true, what is the more accurate story your ego is telling you?
For example, for me that day, I was coming up with stories of people being let down, they needed my help and I have to be strong to do this.
Would they be disappointed? Maybe, initially. But they’d understand.
Was my help needed? In this case, no. I just wanted to make it easier for them.
Was I weak for not pushing myself to do this when my body was screaming at me to take it easy? Not a chance. I’ve seen the consequences of pushing far too much.
In this case, my stories were false which I determined by asking myself if they were true. My reasons for going were based on fearful feelings of the ego rather than love and a true desire to help – which only ever creates resentment and never helps anyone.
Once I considered not going, I went through the whole process pretty quick. It took maybe three minutes.
It might take you more or less time and there is no wrong way to do it!
You’ll notice that you won’t catch this right away. You’ll be a mile down the road in the story and the drama when it dawns on you that something just ain’t right here.
That’s okay. Keep practicing. You will get quicker and it will get easier.
The more in tune you are with how your body feels during a negative experience versus a positive one, the more quickly you’ll be able to catch yourself going down that rabbit hole.
Eventually, you’ll trust your body’s direction enough that you won’t need to do the complete process above. Most of the time, a quick body scan will be able to tell you if something is right or wrong for you.
But if you do use the process, use it knowing that it will make everything crystal clear.
After I cancelled my meetings for the obligations, I immediately felt better.
Anger dissipated, my body felt looser, my mind felt clearer.
I’d given myself the gift of receiving. Which is what I needed all along.
Space to just be.
Now over to you.
How does saying yes when you want to say no show up in your body?
Let me know in the comments below!
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