Are you someone who has a hard time telling others no? Well believe me when I say you are not alone. I also have an extremely hard time not saying yes when others ask me for something. I even will offer to do something before the individual even asks me, as I basically feel like obligated. For me, and probably many of you, saying no feels like you are letting someone down or not helping them when they need it. Instead you say yes to keep things calm and not cause any awkwardness or ruffle any feathers. But is it really your responsibility to say yes to others all the time?
What would happen if you said no? Think about this for a second, honestly. Would you partner say they wanted to leave you because you let them know you had a stressful day and wanted to order pizza instead of making dinner? Would your friend stop talking to you because you told them you couldn’t meet for lunch or at to go shopping due to prior obligations? Would your coworker hate you for letting them know that you cannot take on anything else because you haven’t finished your own work? The answer: Probably not; and if the answer is yes then you need to rethink about who is in your life and if they have your best intentions in mind – like you have theirs.
Saying no is creating boundaries and putting you first. How can we really be there for others and help them if we aren’t there for ourselves? If you always say yes to everything that is asked of you, you will never have time to dedicate to you and your needs. When you start to say no more often than yes, you begin to let go of the guilt of letting others down, which ultimately causes less stress for you. It can almost feel like a large weight is taken off your shoulders.
Now go back through the example situations in which you say yes instead of no. When looking at them again, does it seem that this desire to always please people is healthy or even realistic? What about all the individuals named in the examples (your partner, friends, coworkers, and anyone in your life); do they ever say no to you? They probably do, and did you accept their answer of no even if you wished for them to say yes? So if those you love and care about are allowed to say no, then why can’t you?
Dr. Danielle Dowling lists 10 great reasons why you should say no. I want you to go through them and think about how they apply to your life. Remind yourself as you read through them that ultimately it is your choice to say no, and that someone asking you a yes or no question allows you the option to respond with either answer, not just an automatic yes.
- There’s no “right” way to say no: you can find a way that works for you.
- Your intuition is one of your greatest advocates.
- There are always alternatives you can offer (it’s not the end of the world).
- When we stretch ourselves thin, we’re not helping anyone.
- You will never be able please everyone.
- It’s OK to feel left out because sometimes it’s necessary.
- Saying no creates opportunities for us to ask for what we want.
- Practicing your no will help clarify your needs.
- When we say no we give other people the chance to shine.
- Boundary-setting is a practice in mindfulness.
If you want to read Dr. Danielle Dowling’s full article, “10 Reasons To Say No More Often + How To Do It With Grace” follow the link – http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20036/10-reasons-to-say-no-more-often-how-to-do-it-with-grace.html.
So I have a challenger for you – try saying no for 14 days, unless you are jumping up and down to say yes. That is 2 weeks of you putting yourself in front of others and focusing on what is best for you. You will notice that it gets easier each time you do it. Once those 14 days are up, I want you to really think about some of the changes you noticed during those two weeks, including in the quality of your relationships with those you told no to. Did they change because you said no to them? Did you have more time for yourself? Did you feel less stressed and guilty?
If you’re with telling others no, setting boundaries, and putting yourself first, it might help to talk it over with someone. Give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378 to schedule a free phone consultation with one of our Orlando counselors! Our Orlando Individual Counselors would be happy to help you prioritize yourself and create healthy boundaries.