We know that we should say no…

Or at least think about it before responding, but before we know it we’ve already blurted out “Yes!  Of course, I’d be happy to!”

Many of us often say yes when we really ought to say no.  We’ve all been there: a friend asks us to help plan a party, a co-worker asks if we will take on an extra project, or a member of the PTA asks if we will head the latest fundraiser.  We know that we should say no, or at least think about it before responding, but before we know it we’ve already blurted out “Yes!  Of course, I’d be happy to!”  

Why? Why is it so hard to say no?  Maybe we feel obligated or maybe we are afraid we will hurt someone’s feelings.  Sometimes, we try to prove to ourselves that we are Superwoman and can do it all, and other times we just want to be perceived as the woman who can do it all.  Regardless of your reasons, if you fall into the “yes” trap, take a step back and recognize that it is not only okay to say no sometimes, it is also necessary!

“Here are some ‘just say no’ strategies I use in my own life”

  •  When asked to do something, take time and think it through.  There is no need to put pressure on yourself to make the decision right away.  It’s okay to take a day and think it over.  When you allow yourself some time to consider, you will be able to consult your schedule, talk it over with your spouse, significant other, or trusted friend, and go over your priorities to see if what you’re being asked falls in line with them.  If you find you’ll be squeezing something into your schedule that is not in line with your priorities or passions, just say no!  Your time is precious and there is no reason to spend it on something you don’t believe in.
  • You don’t have to explain yourself.  Boy, do I get caught up in this one!  I don’t know why I think that saying no requires a long, drawn out explanation.  Do I think the person I’m saying no to needs a detailed rundown of my life to understand why I said no?  Will that help soften the blow?  Stop obsessing!  A simple “Thank you for asking, but I just can’t add that into my life at this time” is fine.  Be polite.  Be honest.  Keep it simple.  And move on.
  • Accept that you will, at times, disappoint others.  It’s a fact of life:  you can’t please everyone all the time.  If you are like me, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  You want to do your best to make everyone happy.  Unfortunately, sometimes everyone else’s happiness comes at the cost of yours.  So, before you say yes to something you know will cause stress or conflict, remember: sometimes you have to risk disappointing someone else in order to do what’s best for you
  • Get to know your values and highest priorities.  If you are aware of the things you value most and if you are in touch with your highest priorities in life, saying no will be a breeze.  When you are in tune with these pieces of your life, it is easier to discern what opportunities to bring in, and which ones to let go.  The better you know yourself, the simpler it will be.
  • Keep yourself in check.  Enlist a close friend or family member to help keep things in perspective.  Exercising your right to say no shouldn’t come from a place of selfishness or greed.  There will be times you are asked to do something you’d rather not, but you do it anyway because it is the right thing to do.  The empowerment of saying no comes when you say no for the right reasons; when you take an honest look at your life, schedule, needs, and talents and really think things through to make a decision from your heart, not out of obligation or wanting to please others.  It is important to have someone to talk to about these things, so when the time comes to say no, you can be sure it is coming from a good place.

“By giving yourself permission to say no, you will be available to bring true passions into your life.  You will be able to live more authentically, creating peace and balance.  So, don’t waste another second.

Start saying yes to saying no today!”

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