No.

I used to be scared to say “No” to people because it made me feel negative, unhelpful, uncaring, ungrateful, selfish. (as defined by my childhood.)

I lost money, countless hours and most importantly – the healthy mental/emotional space in my rave-party of a brain.

I lost friends.

I lost my purpose.

I lost myself.

I signed up to “run my own business,” because I desperately wanted to contribute financially in my family.

I gave money to charitable causes.

I became deeply involved in codependent writing groups, where I spent hours a day sharing other peoples’ work in hopes, it would boost my “virtual optimization.”

I signed up for service work out of obligation to my own sobriety and sobriety of my peers. I was told my service to others would help me get out of my over-powering sense of self.

I was told that forgiveness and gratitude would break my steely gripped chains of pain and overbearing grief-ridden anxiety.

Are these all true statements?

Yes and No!

Are these messages that are intrinsically positive and beneficial? Yes and Conversely, they can be used to tap into the guilt vault of shame and low self worth..intentionally and unintentionally.

If you are a trauma survivor had difficulty developing your emotional sense of well-being as a child, it’s almost engrained to say “Yes”, to activities that may negatively affect your mental health.

All under the guise of DESPERATE hope/activities/memberships/ products…….will improve it.

Being told how to “fix” yourself from saying “yes” to others.. can be treacherous waters if we are doing it for the “wrong” reasons. (guilt. validation. Self-serving ego. Importance. Grief. )

Being told to put someone elses’ ________ in front of your ______, can be a message that gets lost in the message.

How does this happen? A seemingly positive intention from one turns into a loss for another ? …..Because we said “Yes” when we really needed to say “No.”

Something so incredible complex as “servant leadership” or “helping humanity” or “livelihood ” has a very simple answer.

Say “No” and mean it.

Why we say “Yes” to harmful activities:

You might be trying you reinvent and re-ignite yourself.

When people use vulnerability and insecurity to get us to say “YES!”, we see a glimpse of hope into healing our pain. Instead, it grows exponentially sideways ….and subconsciously.

You are masking the pain with your ego and need to feel validated in your lifes’ pursuits.

In some cases, powerful and controlling people seek out the vulnerable. You will encounter these types of people in the most unexpected of places.

Churhes. Schools. Fellowship Gatherings. And yes, even family.

Ask yourself.. “Am I doing this for validation, approval, obligation or because I feel completely lost, anxious and maybe depressed?”

If you answer YES, to any of these questions..then say “No” to whatever it is being asked of you..even if ________( insert whatever vulnerable genome is overriding the “NO” in your swirly codependent brain genome sequence !!)

The “warning” statements/places , I made above, are NOT all evil or inherently manipulative. It is with caution, people (like myself) who are naturally empathetic and have experienced life altering tragedies, need to wear an extra layer of emotional gear that allows us to say “No!.”

Healthy food, exercise and supportive friends, fellowship/churches and saying YES..are instrumental in our journey and our lives.

They are not a replacement for healing from trauma and mental illness.

They are not a replacement for healthy solitude.

They are not a replacement for self-care.

Why am I so passionate about a word that society deems as negative and selfish?

Because The “say YES!” ads in my feed(s) , are blowing up!!:

– “Buy my program and you’ll never,ever, ever evah have any finanical worries EVAH again ”

– “Sign up for my wellness coaching plan and you will be free from emotional-fat and good ole’ fashioned Crisco-fat.”

– “Are you a stay at home parent? Well, surely you’re bored as hell, so why not spread that fresh hell to your friends by selling them eye- lashes and nutritional shakes?” (I did it, so relax on feeling persecuted)

“Is your life a LIVING NIGHTMARE, don’t worry. (Insert a variety of emogees) I’ve got a webinar for that. Sign up for my life-coaching series and then you’ll never hear from me again. EVER. In fact, you’ll have a nervous breakdown trying to cancel the autopay for this program.”

Obviously. I exaggerated advertising slogans, just a tad, Thad.

Its not all bad. But it is absolutely overwhelming. Especially with 24/7 information at our fingertips.

MY all time fave “ad that’s not an ad but really is an ad.”. .celebrities without makeup, telling us not to be depressed by “it”.. selling themselves (and businesses) through their back-handed humility:

…” because I’m a celebrity, NOT wearing makeup and LOOK AT MY PORES. I KNOW RIGHT? I DON’T HAVE ANY!!..Don’t be depressed by my Poreless-flawless make-up free-face. It’s genetics and wildly unattainable. Please don’t get depressed about it mm-kay? I’m 5’9″ and my size 2 “genes” won’t allow me to gain muscle weight okay? So pray for MY struggle and stay gratuitously positive …you ungrateful plebeians!!”

I digress.. in hyperbole again.

A pore-less celebrity can’t ” fix these feelings of ______ “, with tummy tea.

No one can fix that, except you. (And for me ..my Faith in something bigger than myself)..And dogs… Which is God spelled backwards..but spiritual talk is not my wheelhouse and people get really angsty about “it.”

External factors such as, weight loss, material things, a new significant other, your gorgeous kids, or a gallon of rosė or ice cream cannot heal pain

“So what Elle-jaying, are you saying?? We should be a cynical naysayer to protect our feelings ???”

No!!

We should partake in all/any of the above, as it helps builds our self-esteem , love for life and ourselves! .. However, if the feeling goes from a temporarily euphoric high to a thunderously crashing low..it might be time to reassess what we are doing to heal.

So my message is clear as a poreless celebrity screaming AT you from her Malibu beach house to NOT BE DEPRESSED !!

You should absolutely drink the tea, and say YES to all the wonderous opportunities in life.

Unless.. you are running to the bathroom/washroom/powder room, from that damn tea. Then. say. “NO”. to that. Tea.

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