Written by Teresa Phelps Martin

On April 10, 2017

Have you ever been in a conversation where someone is asking you to do something…on the inside you are saying one thing then you open your mouth and say another. You try to capture the words before they roll off your tongue but it just doesn’t work. You are left dreading the upcoming event or maybe you feel like you are going to miss out on something amazing if you don’t do it even if it doesn’t go really well with what is already on your calendar. You just carry on and give yourself a bunch of reasons why you chose to ignore your inner voice because ultimately you have to be doing the right thing.

Let’s say you are really busy or just hate missing out on anything and someone asks you to go out to lunch, be on the board, give them a discount, cover for them, co-host an event, bake something….you get the picture, you say you’ll make 5 dozen cookies and you don’t even bake! It can go in the opposite direction as well. You’ve been given the opportunity to do something that deep down you know will nourish your soul, it’s like they know you know how amazing this will be, and you say in the most polite way, no thank you. Then you find yourself overwhelmed by all that’s on your plate, or perhaps underwhelmed and down right board and frustrated by life because you continue to get in your own way.

Who knows why this pattern repeats itself… Maybe there’s too much on your plate to be present to all the things coming at you? Perhaps it’s that you just like to keep everyone happy. Maybe it’s hard to value your own self, like you just forget to take care of you because taking care of your needs first just isn’t the way things work. Or you don’t want to miss out and you don’t mind the chaos if you’re having fun. We may never know the exact root cause. But if you’re sending mixed messages then it’s hard for those around you to support you and well no one is really having fun.

Motherhood is the first time I had to learn how to say no thank you and yes please based on what I was feeling internally and it has to be aligned with what I am articulating outwardly. So digging in and understanding more of my own inner workings is a necessity. Clearly stating my needs becomes a full time job. Being able to articulate in a way that nourishes my heart while respecting the complexity & dynamic relationship we all are navigating takes serious conviction. (By the way I’m not always very good at it and completely forget from time to time.) I have learned to stop comparing or looking to how everyone else is doing it and trust that I am capable of doing it in a way that was best for me. There’s a saying, if mom is happy everyone is happy…

Certain areas of my life I’ve always done it according to me. There are many experiences from my past where I knew when to say yes please and when to say no thank you (though I wasn’t always graceful in saying no thanks). When I said yes it came from deep inside, my whole being said yes without hesitation, doubt, or concern if it was going to work out, because every cell was certain. Honestly I’m easy going until I make up my mind. But I also don’t like to disrupt the flow and that flow can also distract me from what is best. Some might even take my clarity as arrogant or selfish, but I’ve come to learn that is a misunderstanding that extends well past my responsibility for how other people respond.

Life is complicated…so being even clear regarding what’s happening in your inner reality and how you engage with what’s going on around you can ease up the pressure to please, preform or pretend your interested when really you are not.

Know What’s Most Important.
Knowing what matters to you will help you say yes when you mean yes & no when you mean no. You are always allowed to change your mind. As a matter of fact this is an evolving list. But having the list is essential. It gives you a place to measure. Let’s say you have two new job opportunities. Both are aligned with your profession one a little more glamorous than the other. Both make good money but the glamorous one you’ll be traveling & away from your family. If family is most important and you know that means being present for games, events & family outings, then it’s easier to say yes to one and no to the other.

Know What Being In Alignment Feels Like.
Think of a time where it feels everything comes together. How did you feel physically? Mentally? Emotionally? It doesn’t mean you’ll feel this way all the time but when you’re on the spot you can think ahead, a day from now, five minutes from now, and check in with how you will be feeling. You may not have 100% certainty in your decision but you know you’re attempting to remain in alignment.

Know What Nourishes You.
When you have free time, 5 minutes or 5 hours, what’s your favorite way to spend that time. Alone or with others? Out in nature or home reading a book? Cooking a meal or going out to dinner? Being able to know if something is going to drain you because it doesn’t nourish you is incredibly helpful. You’ll have moments you are committed to things that aren’t on this list, we are not always free to do everything according to our own needs. However when you clearly have a choice you’ll be in a position to take action that feeds you & restores you.

If you’re operating from a clear center, your inner compass is guiding you in the direction that elevates, enhances and expands your life, then I’m guessing you’re a little more happy. If your discounting what your heart desires, the message you send out tends to create a mixture of experiences that leaves you in a place of overwhelm, exhaustion & dissatisfied with life.

All of this is being offered to support you in the highest of ways. These emails, the podcast, Facebook group, the group courses as well as one on one work that I offer. I truly believe if we gain clarity internally we will step forward in our life in ways that bring more joy to our life, the people around us and to the world. In counseling we call it congruence, in yoga we call it divine alignment, in coaching it’s called living your best life. I encourage you to explore how you can transform just one aspect to shift the way you engage with life. It may appear like work at first, but the benefits lady a lifetime. Who doesn’t want to live a more elevated experience? Would it be nice to contain an inner certainty when you are faced with some of life’s challenges?

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