In the past, I said yes to things without flinching.  When I was a young adult, I felt compelled to be there for everyone and every event. Crawfish boils for Mardi Gras spicing up my carnival season celebrating someone’s birthday.  Holiday parties during the Christmas season ringing in the yuletide celebrations at others’ homes.  And wedding events for brides who insisted on having 10 showers for every room in their houses.  Even though it’s OK to say no, I never did.  Being ever-present and always there, my reliability to be everything for everyone became my signature fragrance that I sprayed on daily with a sense of pride.

 

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Yet, it wasn’t just about RSVP’ing to events and showing up in style. I had to BE THERE mind/body/soul when others had issues to listen and to respond to the daily crisis.  In essence, I had trouble saying no to listening to everyone’s problems.  In high school, my grandmother used to call me “everyone’s favorite therapist” as she marveled at the amount of time I spent on the phone doling out my insight and giving my intuitive perspective to my friends swirling around in their self-made turmoil.  And, I liked it.  I liked helping people and being a thought partner for them.  I liked it so much that I majored in Psychology in college and Counseling in grad school and started working as a suicide counselor.

 

 

However, I discovered I wasn’t actually helping anyone.  People listened to my advice, and some even wrote it down for referencing.  Yet, the drama continued to vulture around them feeding on the chaos that encircled their lives.  Thus, I became a dumping ground for everyone’s toxic waste fueled with their childhood trauma, self-loathing, and compulsivity.  Their bad relationships, discord at work/school, and disharmony at home enveloped my energy field.  Although the noxious fumes emanated from others, I deeply absorbed it.  Furthermore, I allowed it to invade my life.  Honestly, I relished in it.  And the coat of dishonor by not honoring myself and my needs wrapped around me with its illusionary warmth.  Even though it’s OK to say no, I lit by fire with others’ wood to keep my fire lit within.

 

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The high price of being a yes-person

 

Sadly, I didn’t realize that the cost for “being there for others” would leverage a huge price later on. Because at the same time that I fully committed to others, I pushed away my life and my commitment to myself to forge my own path of self-discovery.  For this reason, my unresolved pain remained.  In actuality, by surrounding myself with others, I bundled up my own life and crammed it into a jack-in-the-box. Occasionally, I cranked the handle but stopped right before the doll popped out.

 

 

But one day, much to my surprise, a monster popped out of the box.  Prompted by a transition and milestone in my life: college graduation. Because I didn’t plunge into the corridors of who I am in college like most newly hatched young adults, my exit from college sparked a darkness.  Even though I started grad school and had a job, I felt hallow, lacking, and lost.

 

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Once on the pathway of becoming a healer, I found myself feeling out of alignment with my true purpose.  The “liking” of being a therapist faded when I began working and going to school for counseling. What I didn’t realize is that my love of helping could be in a healthier format for me:  teaching.  Essentially, being a counselor felt draining.  Listening to people all day seemed as if it would be rewarding. But, for me, it wasn’t.

 

Namely, my boundaries were porous. I let everything into my energy field.  Through my own therapy session which began in my mid-20s, I learned how and why I developed co-dependency on others and felt responsible for their happiness before mine. Read more about codependency here:  https://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-signs-of-codependency

 

I learned it’s OK to say no. And, I found my voice by erecting air-tight boundaries.  Read more about boundaries here: https://tracinicolesmith.com/know-no-bounds-while-knowing-your-boundaries/

 

 

The payoff for being a no-person

 

Now that I am older and have delved into the corridors of my soul, I listen to what I want to do from my inner guidance and heart.  Then, I see how I feel about committing to something that isn’t an automatic “yes” from the start.  I know that it is OK to say no.  And, I started being really good at it. Although at one time, I prided myself on being a good friend or family member, now, I pride myself on being my number one priority.

 

People have their reasons for saying yes to everything.  Some people have trouble implementing boundaries and leave themselves wide open to be asked to do everything.  Others feel obligated because of who asked them whether it’s family, friends, or bosses.  I said yes because I thought “being there” defined friendship.  I realize now that your aligned friends will respect your space and boundaries.  They will take responsibility for their choices and embody a creator consciousness instead of extolling victimhood.

 

Do what YOU want to do.  Say no if it feels like a “no.”  Don’t worry about consequences or criticism.

 

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One day, you will look back on your life.  The regrets you have will not come from what you wanted to do from a pure desire to do it.  Truly, the regrets will come from all of the wasted time you spent people-pleasing and thinking about how you could have spent that time doing something else for yourself.