Several years ago, I taught a class where the students had to read a mission statement at the last class. One student had to miss, so he asked me to read his statement for him. I had a momentary intuition of “This is not mine to do. He should ask another student.”
Rather than honor that intuition, I slipped into the default of “Don’t be selfish. Just do it.”
Through the need to please, I effectively persuaded myself to say yes when I wanted to say no. I lied about the truth.
I received this student’s statement via email. Then I forgot to read it in class.
Once I realized I had forgotten, I confessed my error to him. Fortunately, my “sacred inadequacy” led to a beautiful conversation about boundaries and the faulty powers of people pleasing.
The ego has a dossier of phrases to support people pleasing. At the speed of light, we move from a genuine “No thank you,” to “This person will feel hurt if I say no. Don’t be a baby. It won’t kill you to say yes.”
Ego strategies like guilt, fear, the inability to tolerate someone’s disappointment, and the need to be Wonder Woman/Superman topple our truthfulness. We may think our inauthentic yes is a show of strength or kindness. But often our misplaced yes is the wounded self seeking approval and belonging.
Being who others need you to be; doing what is not yours to do; saying yes when you mean no. These behaviors chip away at your experience of worthiness. Not only do you dishonor your own worth when you act in-authentically; you also say to others, “I do not honor you enough to be truthful; I do not think well enough of you to be who I am.”
Are there any inauthentic yeses in your life?