We’ve all been there . . . standing on the sidelines of our son’s football game, making a quick run into the market to grab dinner food, saying goodbye to our kiddos at school drop off . . . and up walks “so and so” asking for your help with . . .
Collecting donations for the annual school fundraiser (UGH).
Baking 10 dozen brownies for the music department bake sale (can’t I just write a check).
Meeting their niece for coffee who is interested in becoming a life coach.
Watching their kids this weekend.
Hosting the next book club (which is tomorrow night).
Our knee jerk reaction is usually “yes, yes, of course, no problem!”
We as human beings have this instinctual need for connection to others, and by saying “no,” we worry it will break this bond and we will lose our connections! Plus, we don’t want “so and so” to think we are a total bitch!
Women especially have been socialized to feel responsible for the feelings and well being of those around us, so we say yes WAY to much and then we get pissed and resentful and depressed and EXHAUSTED!
Sound familiar??? Yeah . . . I’m right there with you!
Remember . . . when you say “yes” to something, it means you are saying “no” to something else and if I know my tribe as well as I think I do . . . that “something else” is YOU and YOUR time.
When you say “no” to something that doesn’t give you joy or bring value to your life, you are saying YES to nourishing yourself and taking care of you! HELL YES!!!
The word “no” is so small and simple, yet it can be very difficult to choke out at times . . . so let’s practice together.
It is time to become comfortable with the word “no.” Welcome her to your kitchen table. Sit with her for a bit. See how she feels and sounds. Get to know her. She is not a bitch, I promise . . . in fact, she may become your new best friend!
So how do you get better at saying “no” so you can be an awesome human being??
#1 Start Small
Practice saying “no” in low stakes settings. “No, I don’t want an item from the bakery for 99 cents.” “No, I don’t want to sign up for your credit card.” Set a goal for yourself . . . committing to say “no” twice a day for the next month, 5 times this week, etc. Make sure it feels doable and then stick with it.
#2 Have a “go to” phrase and keep it short
It’s hard to say “no” at any time but on the spot is near impossible! So have a response ready to go, “Thank you so much for thinking of me but I have dedicated my time to other commitments for now.” Short and sweet! No need to ramble on or make excuses, no means no!
It is perfectly ok (and I’m giving you permission) to say you need some time to think about committing to making soup for 100 people or cutting out 200 stars for the graduation party or being the chair of a local social action committee. When you pause and give yourself time to think about saying yes or no, you are able to clearly decide if saying yes is aligned with your values and what you stand for. If it is, then go for it! Say YES and enjoy cutting out those 200 stars while binging on Netflix. If the answer is no, be ok with that and move on.
#4 Shift from “I can’t” to “I don’t”
This shift suggests you saying “no” is based on your core values and your strongly held position and NOT something personal. I don’t solicit for donations (I have always hated doing this, so I just say no) but I WILL cut out those 200 stars, make signs and create centerpieces, that is a “yes” I am always willing to do.
#5 Don’t White Lie
It’s tempting to tell a little white lie, especially to protect others feelings, but you WILL get caught . . . social media makes this pretty much a guarantee. Plus, lying never feels good no matter how small.
#6 Don’t forget to say “no” to your shitty mind chatter
Say “no” to the guilt you feel for reading in the middle of the day. Say “no” to the mean things you are thinking about your thighs. Say “no” to the “I should be doing this or that.” thought that is always on repeat.
Ok my beautiful tribe . . . your action steps for this week:
Really become clear about what is important in your life, what brings you joy and what you value . . . then spend time doing those things first.
Decide how many times you will consciously say “no” this week to others or yourself and follow through!
Begin practicing the 6 ways to become better at saying no. If 6 seems to overwhelming, then just say “no” and start with 3! Do what feels right for you!
Say “no” more often to nourish yourself, do more of what you love and just feel damn good so you can kick butt as a human being!