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Hi, my name is Chamique and, I am a recovering people pleaser.
One of my biggest learning curves was learning to say no, more often. Though I was comfortable with telling certain people 'NO', I found it difficult to set boundaries in the areas of my life that I valued deeply. Namely, in professional spaces, close friendships, and romantic relationships. My warped idea of being a reliable and likable person slowly but surely began to cost me my inner peace. To take it a step further, as women, we are conditioned from a young age to be nice, nurturing, and serving.
Though there is nothing wrong with embodying the traditional societal traits of a woman, I don't believe we should continue to stymie our inner voice for social approval.
Here is a perfect example--when I first entered the workforce, I was eager and ready to expand my network so I would normally accept the friend requests of my immediate colleagues. But I slowly began to see a pattern. On Monday mornings, they would ask questions about my weekend based on what they seen on my social media. BUT Workplace Chamique and Turn up Chamique were TWO different people. In fact, I like to keep them separate. My colleagues comments and questions almost felt like an invasion of privacy.
So, I set a boundary. I kindly share with the people I work with that I do not accept social media requests from my immediate colleagues. When I'm asked to explain further, I decline as the boundary is clearly stated. Now, when I come into the office on Monday mornings, the conversations are light and work-oriented, just like I like it.
Sometimes we have to outgrow our desire to often say yes, and replace it with a boundary for self-preservation. Here are two simple tips that have helped me with learning to say 'NO'.
Stop being nice, Start being kind
Knowing the difference between being kind and being nice can help you in your journey of learning to say 'NO'. Both words are used to describe consideration for others but one is rooted in pleasing others while the other is rooted in deep-seated character. To be nice is to be agreeable and quite frankly, it can be performative and superficial. To be kind is to act or an expression of benevolence. When you are making the decision to say 'Yes' keep these definitions in mind.
Set boundaries. Find peace.
Exercising your right to say 'NO' is your prerogative. Moreover, you set boundaries for yourself, not for others. Personally, I struggled with saying 'NO' because I was worried that people may perceive me as mean. But I rather the comfort of honoring myself than the discomfort of pouring from an empty cup. The truth is, if someone in your life is resistant to accepting a boundary you may have to re-evaluate their position in your life.
Let's make it a practice to self-select out of spaces where people expect us to honor their wishes and betray our boundaries because 'NO' is a complete sentence.
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