The Yes/No Equation

by Shauna Gallagher

Benjamin Franklin said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person”.  We all know those people who seem to be able to say yes to everything. Maybe that person is you!

We love those people, don’t we? They are everybody’s friend, and nothing is too much trouble. They will bend over backwards to make sure they help you and everybody around them. We marvel at how much energy they have, and they are usually humble about it when praised for it. And that is something that keeps the people pleaser going – the benefits of saying yes all the time are the seemingly many friends, the emotional boost from helping others, and the praise for being so giving.

However, whilst these people seem to get a lot done, in reality, it would be expected that some things must be neglected, or not done as effectively. Not only that, they don’t always win the respect of others and can tend to be walked over.

I must confess that I am a people pleaser – though pleased to say that I have been growing in this area and learning to say no more often. But the things that I find I neglect the most, are the very things that I shouldn’t neglect, like spending quality time with God and studying His Word. Not only that, often I say yes to things even when I don’t want to. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we just have to do what we don’t want to do, it’s a fact of life. But it’s not healthy if that’s your usual pattern. I have found learning to be more discerning in what I take on, has created a lot more mental space, energy, time doing what God wants me to do, and most importantly, more time with God.

To simplify what people pleasing looks like in my life, I have come up with the ‘Yes Equation’. Perhaps this will resonate with you, or you can write your own equation for how being a people-pleaser effects your life.


What does your people pleasing equation look like?

On the other hand, we have people who are able to say no when they need to; when they don’t have time; when they see a greater need; or when other things are a priority. These people tend to have more confidence in who they are, they lead more balanced lives and don’t burn themselves out on conflicting priorities.

In other words, someone who can say yes and no appropriately, will have a completely different equation to the people pleaser:


Which equation fits your life? Do you need to learn to say no more often? I will leave you with this verse that may help you to be more honest with yourself about this part of your life.


But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:37 NKJV


Shauna is a Mental Health Nurse, author and speaker.  She is very passionate about improving mental health through a Christian world view. Combining her career with her faith has helped Shauna to draw closer to God through seeing how intricately and beautifully He has designed our bodies. Shauna and her husband, John, have four adult children and four gorgeous grandchildren. They minister at a church on the Sunshine Coast and are passionate about sharing God's love with their local community.


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