Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NO Love = Self Love: Learning the Art of N-O.

N-O.  I hate this word.  I hate receiving it.  And even more, I hate saying it.  I hate how definitive and decisive it is.  I don't like the lack of negotiation and lawyering (as I like to say about my style of persuasion) it represents.  NO is very black and white - no grey.  I like grey - especially for my indecisive nature. Grey equals options in my book.

N-O also takes me back to a childhood where I heard it all too often and I instantly feel deprived, not worthy and deficient. 

BUT over the years and with the help of some great therapy- N-O has become an ally and I guess I could call it a friend now.  It helps me better balance and create space for peace and healing. Corny- yes, but so true!

It's been over two years since I started to deploy the word.  Even uttering this from my lips still feels foreign. Not every ounce of the cell in my body are on board when I say N-O to events, activities, appointments that take away from my own healing/balance, people, friends and family.   It's ok- it's practice is what I peacefully say to my self and the parts that still like to dance in the grey of "maybe" and "I'll check and let you know."

NO is also something I've begun telling myself.  WHOA- yes sir, I began implementing some necessary boundaries with my self, my choices and my actions.  I'd like to share some of my progress with you and I'm sure you can relate to how terribly difficult sometimes this is - especially in our right now, instant gratification worlds that we live in:

A. NO you are not going to eat dinner out - you are going to juice or cook dinner with the amazing veggies you got from the market.

B. NO you are not staying up to watch the 10p show, only to fall asleep on the couch thereby hurting your neck and messing with your REM sleep and 11p-1a glandular detoxing.

C. NO you are not going to spend your hard earned money to buy that super cute top here at TJMaxx- you have two just like it that you rarely use and let's REALLY look at what you're missing that makes you want to do some "retail therapy."

D. NO you are not going to skip the gym for the upteenth time! Seriously, get off your lazy butt and bust out some weights and cardio!

And most imporantly:

E. NO I don't want to be in any relationship that is co-dependent, selfish, toxic and un-supportive and unloving with any emotionally challenged narcissist.

The later has been the most amazing NO I've ever uttered by my actions and choices.  While that NO has made some people raging M-A-D - and I mean RAGING (imagine red faced, steam oozing from their ears kinda seriously mad, heart pounding high blood pressure MAD).  I've been kicked out of Thanksgiving Dinner and even endured nasty gram emails filled with mean-mean-mean words that can never be erased or taken back. BUT-I said N-O and I did it because I love myself! 

I love myself as a whole person.  I love myself as a person who seeks healthy, loving relationships that don't demand me to change or be different but are accepting. And sometimes when you say N-O to people who are so used to you saying Y-E-S, they get upset because YOU change the dynamic and they don't often like that.  But it's OK. It's okay because you deserve it, I deserved it and they deserve it too....a healthier relationship.

It's funny how some relationships can mirror our childhood relationships.  Tragically for two and a half years two many, I dated a man who treated me like my mother. Ugh- hidden under the guise of amazing trips and romantic evenings and adventures was a man-child from an alcoholic broken family who had survived a "failure to thrive" as an infant and had buried away all his angst and loathing towards his mother and used money and his power to essentially buy love and peace.  He never had dealt with his intense abandonment issues nor did he ever fully move on from his divorce where his wife fell in love with a woman (another abandonment that triggered more abandonment issues).  Ironically, he created a world of people (mostly employed by him) who worshiped him and any deviation from devotion was absolutely unacceptable.  His way or the highway.  And one day I woke up filled with self love and decided I was going to say N-O. No thank you and I moved on. I'm sure you can guess how well this narcissistic man-child took my N-O.  :)

My first therapist had recommended an amazing book as I sought to deal with my own childhood angst - "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend.  I read it I believe in a matter of 2 days. It was filled with chapters of amazing lessons on how to create boundaries.  In my childhood there were many "NO" boundaries, but privacy (a boundary), acceptance (a boundary), physical (a boundary), space (a boundary) were never honored and as such I had no clue where and how one thing ended and another started.  This book was perfect for reshaping and growing from my co-dependent upbringing.

I want to share with you a few of the questions that I ask myself each time I'm faced with a decision.  This is much inspired by Cheryl Richardson - she's an amazing Life Coach who I've had the privilege of seeing in person at the I Can Do It conferences and have read all her books.  She's been a fabulous resource for implementing NO in my life.  

This is my list - I try to be faithful to this list each and every time I am in a situation where I have to make a decision - I ask myself these 5 questions.  And then decide Y-E-S or in more cases now, N-O.

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