When you say yes, but inwardly mean no, you stress your body with the conflict of the lie.

Saying and doing one thing and feeling another (people pleasing) from time to time isn’t going to do too much harm, not least because being an occasional (as opposed to frequent or chronic) people pleaser suggests you normally prioritise being your authentic self. It also indicates that you’d learn from those times when you notice the conflict between how you feel inside or who you are and what you project or agree to on the outside.

However, telling people what you think they want to hear and going against yourself as a way of life creates disconnection and problems. 

As my book The Joy of Saying No explains, “The body doesn’t like conflicts and lies. It needs you to tell the truth so you can be okay and well. Appearing as if what you do doesn’t bother or hurt you, or take as much effort as it does, or that you are without needs, means people have no idea you’re drowning, all while you might feel unseen and unheard. It takes a toll when what you project and portray on the outside is at odds with how you truly feel on the inside.”

Hiding yourself via your inauthentic yeses makes it tricky to know and own your needs, desires, expectations, feelings and opinions. You will miss vital signals from your body about when something is too much or too little. You won’t know if you’re off course or will ignore, dismiss and override yourself despite knowledge. It’s also too easy to load yourself up with your and everyone else’s expectations and miss the signs you’re on the way to illness, burnout, breakdown, or fallout.

Notice where you’re in conflict with yourself and where you have, at the very least, opportunities to tell yourself the truth. Acknowledge the side effects of your often inadvertently inauthentic yeses.
  • Who or what causes you to feel conflicted?
  • Where do these feelings and the stress of your yeses show up in your body?
  • Do you experience the people-pleaser feelings, including anxiety, resentment, frustration, overwhelm, exhaustion, guilt, and helplessness?
  • What truth do you need to tell yourself?

Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to ‘please’ or protect yourself from others? My book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon), is out now.

The Joy of Saying No by Natalie Lue book cover. Subtitle: A simple plan to stop people pleasing, reclaim boundaries, and say yes to the life you want.

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