SHE gets off of the tire swings
I don’t understand people who like spinning rides. From the State Fair Gravitrons to the spinning swivel chair in my Dad’s office, all of the above and everything in between was solely responsible for ruining the rest of the day in my childhood. The minute the recess bell rang, I remember hesitantly running behind my friends as they pointed towards our destination...the tire swing. As I slowly jogged behind my adventurous friends, my heart rose higher and higher into my throat. You could almost hear it thumping as I reluctantly answered ‘yes’ to the excited questions of “Do you want to ride with me?” or “Isn’t this going to be fun?” I don’t know if my friends had no inner ear function (this is the part of our bodies responsible for our balance) or they just had titanium stomachs, but I couldn’t understand their attraction to this vomit machine.
At least twice a week, I allowed myself to fall victim to the circular turns of this death trap. Knowing good and well that I would be sick for the rest of the day, I somehow gained enough fear-driven confidence or temporary amnesia to get right back on later in the week. Despite the consequences, I just didn’t want to be left out. I feared the impact my ‘no’ would have on what I perceived as strong friendships. Somehow the protection of self no longer held enough value to my desire to fit in.
This was one of many classic examples of my desire to please people. You may think, you’re being too hard on yourself...you were just a kid...we all did that! The reality is...I still do that. Present tense. In many ways that little girl that was too afraid to say ‘no’, never really grew up. Well on the outside she did. She got taller, grew into her nose, graduated from high school, college, and even got her Masters degree...but inside there were parts of her still left on that playground.
Now as I navigate adulthood, I have seen the impact that being a ‘yes-woman’ has had.
My ‘yes’ allowed me to accept unhealthy relationships in my life that distorted my identity and self-worth.
My ‘yes’ caused me to endure a living situation that I knew was troublesome to begin with.
My ‘yes’ left me sitting in a room of people I had no desire to be around...but I didn’t want to seem uncool and sit at home by myself.
My ‘yes’ strained relationships with people I cared about because I was too scared to let them down.
I’d like to say I’m fully healed. But that would be a lie. Instead I’ll take up the same attitude Paul had when he exclaimed
“...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
I’m not trying to be perfect. Instead this past year, I have taken serious efforts to make my ‘yes’ a ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ a ‘no’. Unafraid of people’s reactions. Bold to speak unapologetically about my decision. I’ll admit, the first ‘no’ I made was done with only one eye opened anxiously awaiting what I expected to be a harsh text response. Instead I just got back an ‘ok, no worries’. From that moment, I felt empowered to address situations with two eyes open this time, staring confidently into the face of fear that spewed lies of pending rejection or ridicule if I didn’t reply accordingly.
Now I celebrate the little girl that is growing up inside of me. She no longer tries to ride the tire swing with everyone else. She instead plays house with all the other normal kids who value keeping their lunch. She is now her biggest advocate who uses ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with purpose. She is now what I’m proud to identify as ME!
What types of things do you easily compromise to win the approval of others?
Who can you practice saying ‘no’ to this week? ***Extra points if it’s more than one person