May 22

INTEGRITY MONTH: DAY 22: “Nobody will ever take you serious in life, until they know that your yes is yes, and your no is no.”― Bamigboye Olurotimi

Our culture of dysfunction and codependency is a powerful thing. We are taught to be people-pleasers and make others happy at our own expense.

It is funny how few people can really practice that “bumper sticker” line from the 1980s that asked, “What part of NO don’t you understand?”

Try an experiment. For a day or two, ask others you encounter for something you don’t believe they will give you. I do it with $5.00. What happens is interesting. Everyone will either want to know why you want it or will say no, but with some elaborate reason/explanation attached.

An important maxim I had to learn early in my recovery process was that NO is a complete sentence. The minute we begin to explain why we are saying no, which is a serious sign of codependence, all that others hear is Maybe.

It is culturally reinforced all the time for us to begin to negotiate the minute we do not get what we want. When we find others who say Yes or No and stick with it, we truly know who they are. We may not like them for refusing to meet our demands, but something vastly different happens. We RESPECT them for honoring their boundaries.

This is human nature. I cannot, nor will I ever, respect anyone who demands it of me or threatens me. I DO respect those with boundaries who can stick with them and walk away. No explanations because that is their lack of commitment to their answer.

I do not owe you an explanation if I say yes or no. And I do what I say I will do when I say I will do it. It is popular also in this culture to change my mind if something better comes up and I have made a commitment to something that is not as fun. I don’t do that. If I say I am doing one thing, I stick with that. It is MY word I am preserving here. I don’t break it without a really good reason. Then I will make it right. We get to be honorable this way. And we can find other honorable people by finding those who mean what they say and say what they mean, even when they are not going to be particularly popular for it.

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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