I don’t know about you but I say “yes” or “okay” a little more frequently than I should. And the next thing I know, I’m doing something that I didn’t want or even need to do and that isn’t a valuable use of my time and takes me away from things I really need or even want to be doing.
Or, I say “no” and then am suddenly consumed by guilt. Not because I’ve done something wrong – because no is not a bad word – but because I feel guilty for saying no and maybe I should have said yes and been more helpful – so what if I have other responsibilities and things to take care of?
It can be a vicious cycle.
While I still struggle with saying “no,” I am getting better at it and managing the guilt that follows it. 2017 was a pretty tough year for me and this was actually one of the things I talked about with my therapist. It’s definitely still a work in progress but these are a few of the things that I’ve learned.
It’s okay, even necessary, to set boundaries.
We’re all busy people. We have jobs, families, houses, pets, bills to pay, responsibilities, lives…. Sometimes, it can be hard enough to get all the things accomplished without having extra stuff piled on!
Think about it this way – if you said yes to every request for a donation, you’d soon be out of money. Once you say yes, and continue to say yes, the requests come more frequently and from more places. Places you didn’t even know existed! The next thing you know, everyone and their brother is asking for something because word on the street is you say yes. All the time.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with donating to a worthy cause. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t say yes every now and then. You just have to make your choices and set your boundaries. The same goes for all other situations in life. Your time is important and if you give it all away, you don’t have the time for yourself.Your time is important. If you give it all away, you don't have any left for yourself. Click To Tweet
People are not going to hate you for saying no
No is not a bad word and people are not going to hate you for it. You might think that they will but they won’t. They might get angry, if they happen to be small children and you just told them no to candy/cookies/soda/whatever, but they’ll get over it. In fact, they’ll probably move on. If they decide they hate you, you didn’t need that person in your life anyway.No is not a bad word. Don't be afraid to say it. Click To Tweet
Chances are that a reasonable adult will respect you for saying no and hopefully take note for a future situation in her own life when she wants to say no but is afraid/hesitant to.
You are important
This is the hardest one for me. This is where guilt creeps in and I feel bad, especially if after I say “no,” I get a but…..
I’d actually pause and I used to change my mind all. the. time. I’d put other people first. Because I couldn’t handle the guilt. I was a people pleaser. I certainly couldn’t let anyone down!
Except, I wasn’t taking care of myself. I didn’t consider myself important enough. Saying yes when I meant no not only took away my time, it added to my own stress and anxiety. Which was (still is) not good for my health!
And it’s not good for yours, either. Increased stress and anxiety can cause headaches, insomnia, heartburn, stomach aches, tense muscles, and a whole host of other issues. When you get stressed, your central nervous system releases adrenaline and cortisol to help fight off those stressors. Your body is essentially roused into action. If you are already stressed from whatever you have to deal with personally, adding to the pile by saying yes to something you don’t want to do just makes it all worse. The adrenaline and cortisol keep pumping away. Your body doesn’t get a break. And the next thing you know, you’re crying uncontrollably, overeating, under-eating, binge drinking, always angry, always tired, can’t remember how to tie your shoes, etc.
Time to push that pause button and remember that you. are. important.
You need to take care of you. If saying yes is going to add to your stress, don’t say it. If saying yes is going to push you over the edge, don’t say it. If you don’t want to say yes, don’t say it.
Don’t sacrifice your self worth for someone else’s opinion of you.You are important. Don't sacrifice your self-worth for someone else's opinion of you. Click To Tweet
I got a request just the other day and I said …. no.
And then I spent the next 30 minutes explaining to myself why saying no was okay, that it was the right thing. I didn’t really feel bad or guilty when I said no so I don’t know why I had that internal conversation. That’s what I mean when I say it’s still a work in progress. But I said no!
If you struggle with saying no, that’s normal. If you need help, reach out. Reach out to a therapist, reach out to a friend, reach out to me – I’m definitely not a therapist but I’m always happy to talk! Please don’t just continue to say yes because you feel that you need to. <3