Oh, this is an easy one!
Simply put, you want people to like you, you don’t think they do, and you’re sure they will not if you don’t say yes to every request they make. You’re just afraid of rejection. Most of us are, but most of us have learned to handle it better or get past it. You just aren’t there yet.
It’s all about self-respect, self-image. You have to come to believe it doesn’t matter if they like you or reject you because you believe in yourself enough that the opinions of others don’t matter to you.
Easily said, right? Let me ask you something. Do you find that you are very attractive to people you don’t really care about? That’s because you don’t care what they think. And see what happens when you are just being you, without trying to please everyone? You become the person other people will like as well.
You become a person who has confidence, has a backbone, knows her limits and insists they be respected, can’t be pushed around. People like people like that. It will start as an intellectual awareness, but it becomes a fake-it-’til-you-make-it situation. It will start to become real to you.
See, if you do not take care of yourself – that is, if you do not set boundaries and say no when that’s what you want to say – then the other person has to look out for you. They have to make sure they don’t say anything to send you retreating into your shell or causes you pain. Do you think most people want that responsibility? Hell, no. What they will do is avoid people like that.
I had a boyfriend once who, very early in the relationship – said once, “You’re really bumming me out right now, so I’m going home.” He wasn’t angry; he wasn’t breaking up with me. And to my great surprise, I loved it! I truly was being a bummer. I didn’t want to be around me right then. And I realized I never had to worry about pushing him too far. He would be clear when I was starting to cross a line for him. I was very surprised at how freeing that felt to me! I didn’t have to worry about him.
So, it’ll take a while and it’ll take a lot of work, but you can do it. It starts with the intellectual awareness and suddenly you realize it’s become real to you.