Just Say No

Extracting sovereignty from our relationships often means we start saying no. Saying no to unfulfillable expectations is critical and difficult. If people have specific wishes of us—such as to support their effort, watch them less closely, give them advice—the answer can be yes. To the extent, though, that these specifics are symbolic of their wishes for security, self-esteem, and freedom, the answer must be no. Even though they may experience our response as an act of abandonment or betrayal. They may feel that since we once offered them that protection and self-esteem, how could we now withhold it? The reason we do not offer security, self-esteem, and freedom to others is that it is not ours to give. Theirs to claim, yes. Ours to ...

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