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Filtering by Tag: fear

Get the FOG outta here!

Jamieson Van Loan

I have a tough time saying no to things. I’m getting better with age but I still feel guilty when I say no because I feel like I am letting the other person down. Even if it stretches me too thin, even if it stresses me out, even if it doesn’t bring me happiness- I will say yes in order to make the other person feel heard and valued. This applies mostly to work and slightly in my personal life. I am much better at honoring myself in my personal life. I have yet to learn that lesson within my career.  

Obviously agreeing to a situation you'd rather not be a part of is hypocritical to what I typically preach: being true to oneself. Saying no to people should be a life skill taught to us from a very young age. But it isn’t, so here we are, foregoing our greatest asset- time- to do things in order to please others. Or doing what is expected of us or the "right" thing. 

So I started to think about my people pleasing issues and where this stems from and fear is the only answer I could come up with. There is a fear of not being liked that is universal in all of us. How can we be so secure with ourselves but also feel the need to seek the approval of others?

There is also the issue of obligation. That we need to prove our worth or reciprocate a value in order for others to accept us. There is the tiniest possibility that we may lose friends (or clients) if we don’t say yes and because of the undue pressure that we place on our ourselves, we feel obligated to fulfill this imaginary contract.

I was speaking to someone this week and they put it best by telling me “you have to get yourself out of the FOG. Move away from Fear, Obligation, and Guilt.” Woah! Game changer. Understanding that when you feel a negative pull in a situation, ask whether it’s one or a combination of these things. Realizing that something falls within the FOG helps lessen the insecurities of the situation and allows us to hopefully approach with more authenticity.

Because that is what we want right: for everyone to be authentic with us. I would hate to think a friend is helping me or saying yes to me because they feel guilty saying no. Yet, we all do it to each other constantly. Just the idea that I have not created a space for my friend to be completely authentic is tough for me to swallow. For any of my friends reading this, please always say and do what pleases your heart. 

So what will it take for you to stop saying yes out of fear, obligation or guilt? I know, for me, it will take a lot of self awareness and then self acceptance of the guilt that follows. I constantly feel guilty saying no and it tends to plague my brain. I will have to come to terms with the idea that this emotion is fleeting and will exist regardless, so I must accept it and move forward. I have to look at the guilt as a natural, almost intrinsic reaction and sit well with it. This is my work to be done. 

So how can you move out of the FOG? What can you do in your daily life to be more authentic to your inner voice?

I have an amazing friendship with someone where we talked about this very idea: the pressures and strain we put on our relationships because of the FOG. We mutually agreed to never be upset about silly things with our friendship. We agreed to never feel pressure to say yes or no in any situation between us. Essentially, to never stress about where we stand in each other lives' because we genuinely love each other, always.  And because we took a moment to be vulnerable and open with our thoughts, we have one of the strongest relationships. I never question why a text or call wasn't returned. I never feel guilty about not checking in. I never have to apologize for who I am. The relationship flows effortlessly and perfectly. This should all be our FOG-less goals.

I hope this all creates a little space in your lives to be true to your inner voice. To have the capacity to do what pleases you versus pleasing others. To know that it is ok to not be exactly what people want or need. I am the queen of trying to please others and I am working on giving up my crown. 

Authentically yours,