As we enter the month associated with love, Bernadette Petrie addresses an issue which has affected or affects most of us – being a people pleaser..

As a ‘people pleaser in recovery’ it took me a long time to break this habit. I literally said no to everything and in the process I discovered what it was I really wanted to say yes to. I fall off the wagon from time-to-time but generally I have improved in this area enormously and I learnt by saying ‘no’ to someone else, was the way to say ‘yes’ to me. But I’ve also had to test out saying ‘yes’ as well, particularly in relation to scary or new things. Because, in the past, I’ve said ‘no’ out of fear, when I actually wanted to say yes. All stemming from the desire to people please! Even as young as seven-years-old I remember politely saying no to an offer of cake at a friends house, when of course I wanted some. And this can lead to a pattern of saying no to the cake of life – for all the wrong reasons. 

The truth of the matter is, we have an inner compass which can reveal to us the ‘truthful answer’ but, we have to be able to read the compass in the first place. My challenge to you, is to find out what it is that you really want and, in the process, really learn how to be your very own sweet valentine this year. Depending on what’s going on with you right now, you can choose the 21 day NO challenge or the 21 day YES challenge – or do both back-to-back. 

The NO challenge will suit you, if you are currently feeling over-whelmed, exhausted and over-stretched. Somewhere along the line you have definitely lost touch of your magical inner compass. You really want to say no, but your people-pleasing mechanism is in overdrive. If this sounds like you, your challenge is to say a flat ‘no’ to any requests or invitations for the next 21 days, and I mean everything! That way you will discover what you really wanted to say yes to, because you will get a sense of relief if it’s a true ‘no’ or a sense of disappointment if it’s a false ‘no’.

The YES challenge is inspired by the film Yes Man staring Jim Carey (so for added clarity watch this in the process). This is for you, if life feels too small and lacking excitement. Your challenge is to say ‘yes’ to everything over the next 21 days. Yes to invitations, yes to people you always say no to, and once again you will learn you are more capable than your inner critic would have you believe. Spoiler alert, a couple of Jim Carey’s characters yeses go awry. But, like him, you might not know that if you don’t start saying yes to everything. You will, hopefully, less drastically than him, learn what a true ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feels like.  

Remember it’s only 21 days and after this time you will find it much easier to say yes or no in alignment with your souls desires. Whichever challenge you choose, you will have connected back to this precious gift locked inside you – your inner wise self. Saying yes to your soul is the biggest act of self-love on the self-love menu! I’d love to hear how you get on.

THE BAREFOOT SANCTUARY
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