Jess Reiche

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Saying No to Others – Part 1

It’s taken me many years and a lot of tears to learn how to say no to others. Turning down things I’m not meant to do and not attending everything I’m invited to has been such a huge struggle as I’m a bit of a people pleaser. It’s not that I live to make others happy, it’s that I have spent most of my life terrified of someone being disappointed in me. I never want to feel like I had let someone down. I don’t want to leave a gap in a church need if I could fill it. I used to avoid confrontation with my parents and having to hear every way their unhappiness was a direct reflection of my actions. The guilt either put on my shoulders by myself or by others was too much to bear – so I usually do everything in my power to avoid it. Until, of course, the worst confrontation of all naturally happens – the battle with my husband.

Now before you go calling some service on us, a battle between Chris and I never involves fists, eyes, walls, flying objects or anything remotely harmful. For the most part, it doesn’t even involve a verbal battle. It’s more of a mental battle. Carefully (or not) chosen words that tell each other how much we’re hurt is enough of a confrontation for me to call it a battle. Honestly, knowing I caused the love of my life any pain is the worst feeling of all. And boy have I caused that poor man pain over the years, especially the first few years of our marriage.

My constant need to make others happy and have them approve of me did not seem to include my husband, and therefore caused a lot of problems. I don’t know how I was so set on making everyone happy except for him. I guess the ones we love the most are the ones that get looked passed the easiest. But it came to a peak. I made a choice. I chose my husband and his happiness. I chose my marriage’s happiness. Together we prioritized what was important to both of us individually and as a couple. He helped me take off my mask of people pleasing and get to the root of what I truly felt I should be doing with my time. We talked about our lives and our goals and what mattered the most to us.

And what did we find?

I sure was spending a lot of time doing things I wasn’t supposed to be doing.

So I learned how to say no to church events, family gatherings, small groups, projects when I was a working woman, regularly scheduled playdates as a mom and countless other things.

And I discovered a peace and a joy and a pace of life I truly enjoyed. Have you ever experienced such a change?

 

In Part 2 – I’ll share with you the hardest step I’ve experienced so far. Make sure to check back soon!

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