The Joy of Saying No
A Simple Plan to Stop People-Pleasing, Reclaim Your Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want
by Natalie Lue
The Joy of Saying No (2023) offers a transformative roadmap for those trapped in the cycle of appeasement. It delves into the psychology behind appeasement, its impact on mental health, its various behavioral manifestations, and the strategies to break free, enabling individuals to lead a life that resonates with their true selves.
About the author
Natalie Lue, originally from the UK and brought up in Ireland, is a renowned author and creative spirit, celebrated for her insightful blog, Emotional Unpacking. Before Lue introduced readers to several self-published masterpieces, such as Mr Unavailable, The No Contact Rule, and Fallback Girl, . Her profound insights on emotional complexities have been spotlighted in prestigious platforms like Forbes, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
Embrace Authenticity Over Appeasement
Imagine being told that your life expectancy might not even reach the age of 40.
This was the grim reality Natalie Lue faced at the tender age of 28. For a year and a half, she navigated the maze of medical consultations, undergoing countless tests and seeking answers. Yet, the mystery of her immune disorder – sarcoidosis – remained unsolved. Simultaneously, she chose silence over sharing, fearing the imposition her ailment might be on her loved ones and colleagues.
Throughout this period, Lue adhered religiously to every medical advice. After all, weren't experts meant to be followed blindly? However, a transformative moment arrived in August 2005. Contrary to her nature, Lue declined a doctor's advice. This marked the beginning of her healing journey, not just from sarcoidosis but from a more subtle ailment: chronic appeasement.
You might not see yourself as a chronic appeaser. But if you've ever suppressed your desires for others, or blindly followed someone else's advice, or found it hard to decline, then you might be caught in the appeasement web.
But here's the silver lining: it's not your fault, and there's a way out.
The thought of declining or establishing firm boundaries might seem daunting. You might even wonder who you'd become without your appeasing tendencies. But beyond these boundaries lies liberation; beyond these habits lies your genuine self.
If you're tired of molding yourself to fit others' expectations, sidelining your aspirations, and compromising your happiness and authenticity, gear up. It's time to unlearn appeasement and embrace your true self.
The Era of Blind Obedience
If you were born between 1940 and 2000, welcome to the Era of Compliance. The mantra for children of this era was simple: "be obedient." This meant adhering to norms, blending in, and always respecting authority, irrespective of their true merit.
It's astonishing how many of us carried this mindset into adulthood without questioning its relevance. Our brain's behavioral center, the basal ganglia, doesn't distinguish between beneficial and detrimental habits. It simply recalls and enacts the most practiced behaviors.
Over time, these habits shape our identity, restricting our roles. Many find themselves replaying their childhood scripts, seeking the same old validation.
But here's a revelation: constant appeasement and suppressing your true self can't coexist with genuine happiness or authenticity.
As adults, it's crucial to break free from these outdated molds. The more we challenge these ingrained patterns, the closer we get to a life aligned with our true selves.
This doesn't mean you'll never compromise or follow rules. But you'll start to evaluate your actions, understanding when you're genuinely serving a greater purpose and when you're merely appeasing.
Unraveling Your Appeasement Archetype
While appeasement might have a common root, its manifestations vary. There are five primary appeasement archetypes: The Validator, The Hustler, The Evader, The Rescuer, and The Martyr.
Each of us has a dominant archetype, but understanding it isn't about labeling. It's about recognizing your core fears and values. This clarity is the first step towards an authentic, joyous life.
Let's delve deeper:
Validators are obsessed with perception. They aim to appease, hoping for acceptance and validation. Interestingly, Validators often prioritize appearing righteous over genuine good deeds.
Hustlers are action-driven. They relentlessly chase achievements, seeking validation through their accomplishments. They portray invulnerability externally while internally craving acknowledgment.
Evaders, avoid confrontations. They often sidestep their own truths, mistakenly believing they're doing it for others.
Rescuers are the perpetual helpers, always ready to assist and save. This archetype is often misinterpreted as noble, but Rescuers need to introspect their true motivations.
Martyrs epitomize self-sacrifice, often compromising their well-being for validation. They often grapple with the concept of joy, as it contradicts their ingrained belief that suffering equates to worth.
Reflect on these archetypes. Which resonates with you?
Remember, this isn't about reinforcing stereotypes but about fostering self-awareness. Let this newfound understanding guide you towards the life you truly deserve.