Hello my valued “Jane Says” readers. I apologize for the lapse in communication. Like all of you my plate is full. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and realize I’ve said “Yes” once too often. And I know I’m not alone.
I’m in coaching conversations daily with people who struggle with saying “No”. When is it OK to say “No”?
Most of us can agree that it’s absolutely a must to say “No”:
-When you’re stressed or overwhelmed
-When you’re already doing too much
– When you’re tired or sick
If we don’t learn how to say “No”we risk staying stressed and getting overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time. And isn’t it usually our priorities (our health, ideas, our writing, our quality time with ourselves and others) that suffer?
Children go through a phase in their growth when their favourite word is “No”. That’s because “No” is a power word. It gives a definite sense of self. It allows us to separate ourselves from others. And this means saying “No” is an ideal opportunity to rediscover your sense of who you are.
Here’s a list of times when you may have the right to say “No”. You also have a right to say “No”:
-When it’s someone else’s problem
-When it’s something you don’t want to do
-When there’s something else you’d rather do
-When it takes away from your values
-When you need some time to yourself
How many of you read that list and went immediately to the – “Yes, but…” place and thought of all the exceptions (and of course there are many)? The point is the above are radical statements when you are wired to put other people’s needs before your own.
But what happens when you say “Yes” when you’d rather say “No”? Resentment creeps in and sours the relationship. And as an old mentor of mine used to say: “If you aren’t getting mad, then how are you getting even?”
Isn’t it better to choose saying something temporarily uncomfortable over becoming resentful? And risk showing up in your life, tired, stressed and overwhelmed and blaming others for what you didn’t have the courage to say?
So whether you learn to say “No”more often, or just learn to say “Yes” on your terms, it will release yourself from the burden of constantly chasing approval. Give yourself more permission to do what matters most to you. And by doing this yourself you are modelling the way for others to do the same.
Now, grab a pen and write down the first things that pop into your head in response to these questions:
What in your life do you need to say “No” to?
What stops you from saying “No” to these things?
What are you losing in your own life by saying “Yes” when you need to say “No”?