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Perfect Come Backs for Your Self Esteem

          Ask Yourself, “Am I Feeling Controlled or Feeling Scared?”

Saying No and Feeling Good about It

            Learn ways to say “No” to what you don’t want in your life so that there’s more room for you to say “Yes” to what you do want. The following is an example of how a young woman used her creativity to learn to say “No.”

Since Kathryn had struggled with guilt most of her life, she knew this guilt feeling was keeping her from experiencing the level of freedom she wanted. This guilt feeling linked to many weed-like beliefs and behaviors, such as (1) Kathryn believed she wasn’t good enough; (2) she thought everything that went wrong was her fault; (3) she felt compelled to please others; (4) she felt responsible for fixing everyone’s problems; and (5) she couldn’t say no to other people’s requests for her time and energy because they might get mad at her. Underlying these beliefs, Kathryn discovered she held unrealistic expectations of herself, namely that she needed to be perfect and liked by everyone. Both of these expectations stemmed from a false sense of ego-vanity rooted in low self-esteem and conditioned responses from her childhood and growing up trying to please her mother.

Some non-assertive verbal samples are apologetic words, veiled meanings, hedging or failing to make a point, rambling, or failing to say what you really want.  Some examples of assertive statements are honest statement of feelings, objective words, and using the” I messages.”

            Kathryn’s first step to healing her faulty belief system was learning to say no to the many demands on her resources. She began this process by writing NO in eight-inch high, black letters across her front door to remind her to say it whenever she could. Whenever Kathryn did say no however, she noticed a high degree of anxiety and guilt would result. 

She knew the only way she could feel good about herself was to go deeper in her quest, simultaneously confronting and dealing with both major issues (learning to say no and absolving her guilt). Here’s how she did it.

Underlying guilt was blocking Kathryn progress toward developing the ability to say no. So Kathryn followed her therapist’s suggestion and wrote the words “LET IT GO” on several yellow index cards and placed them at strategic points around house. Whenever she saw these cards, it reminded her subconscious to let go of the guilty feelings. Also, whenever she started to feel guilty, she would know it was a sign to command herself in loud, forcible words to “LET IT GO!” She practiced saying these words throughout the day.

It took her awhile to break through her denial and to consistently use this tool but she not only found that the command words helped her release feelings of guilt and perfectionism, today she only has to hear these words and she instantly relaxes. These command words will work for you in a similar manner once you’ve mastered this technique. 

            Kathryn used another technique of imagining by speaking to an empty chair or the mirror the many different ways of saying “No” using the Assertive Scripts that follow until it became comfortable for her to segue them into casual conversation. All of this happened gradually in a natural cycle of change. Kathryn took the process of change little by little, step-by-step, all the while receiving just what she could handle, at the pace she could handle.

            Kathryn found when she mastered the ability to say no, she was finally free of the guilt that had once plagued her. And when most of her energy wasn’t tied up emotionally with faulty beliefs, her eating habits began to improve too.


Assertiveness Scripts

(1)  Disagree with a straightforward statement (“I don’t agree with your understanding of . . .”)

(2)  Confront by denying the statement is relevant to the conversation (“That’s not the point.”)

(3)  Reword negative labels by framing it in positive words (“I am not being childish; I’m stating my view.”)

(4)  Repeat your main point until it is heard without anger

(5)  Ask Questions if you’re not comfortable with a point, or ask for clarification (“How do you see me as childish or selfish?”)

(6)  State Feelings by using “I” statements that reflect your opinion about the situation (“I really feel this is important!”)

(7)  Be Short and Quick by just saying “NO” directly

            A word of caution when you first start to speak up you may experience aggressive statements such as loaded words, accusations, descriptive, subjective terms, imperious, superior words, and the use of “you messages.”  For example rather than saying, “You make me feel __________,” the speaker says, “I feel _____________when the floor is cluttered with your cloths.”  No one is to blame for someone’s feelings.  You have control over how you feel and with practice you’ll learn others cannot make you feel a certain way.  You’ll also learn that by your choices you can feel empowered with better self esteem.

Kathleen Fuller, Ph.D.’s work as a leading eating disorder expert, has helped countless individuals find happiness that has eluded them. Her seventeen years of private practice specializing in eating disorders gives her a unique insight into what can work to change one’s life.