Yes, No, Counter Offer …

… and possibly maybe and later.


I’ve spent much of my life practicing codependency:

“I don’t know, whatever YOU want”

in response to just about any request for my preferences – simple things like, “Where should we go for dinner?” or “What would you like to watch on television?”

I’ve also realized another form codependency takes:

a hesitation around sharing some of my innermost thoughts and ideas, afraid of what you might think while at the same time not feeling heard or even loved for who I am.

Think about that. Do you ever withhold your innermost self, even from those closest to you, but then not feel heard or understood? Yikes! If I never share my “real”, how can I possibly know that you love/like/or care about me? I haven’t given you the opportunity to see me!

If any of this sounds like you, here are a few thoughts:

  • Make requests! Freely ask for what you would like. (Note that this requires you to be honest with yourself first!) But be prepared for: yes, no, counter offer, I need some time to think about it – I’ll get back to you. When you ask, you honor yourself. When you receive a “no” or something less than you ask for, don’t take it personally! Most of the time it isn’t about you.
  • Consider this: two people in any relationship are individuals with very different life experiences. What a rarity it would be to like or love EVERYTHING in the same way as this other person! So be you and share your preferences but EXPECT both resonance and dissonance, yes and no. Let the no’s or counter offers be a place to grow, shift and change. In the relationships you deeply care about, the process of counter offers is a journey of co-creating from YOU AND ME to WE.
  • Say NO! One of the hardest things for a well practiced codependent is to say no. We like to please others. We like to be liked. So we sometimes run ragged saying yes and yes and “Yes, I’ll do that too.” Just as we need to freely accept another’s yes, no or counter offer, we, too, must be willing to respond in the same ways.

In what ways do you deny your preferences?
Where do you “yes” when “no” would be more truthful?
What part of you is ready to be revealed to a safe other?


What is YOUR wisdom?