Say No Like You Mean It

6This time of year is full of too many things to do any not enough time. You’ve probably said yes to things that you don’t want to do or don’t have the time to do. And you end up kicking yourself and resenting others as a result.

Saying no isn’t easy especially for people who like to nurture and take care of others. But it is a crucial skill in order to preserve your sanity and relationships. Like all new skills it takes practice, practice, and practice. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to saying no in no time!

Stop giving an automatic “Yes.” Instead take time to think about the request, your ability to do it, and your desire to do it. Sometimes we do things simply because we’re capable of it and not because we actually want to. Just because you can doesn’t mean that you automatically should! When you’re asked to do something try responding with these phrases to give you some time to think about your reply:

  • “I need to check my calendar and get back to you”
  • “I need some time to think about it”
  • “I want to say yes but I don’t know if I can right now. Can I let you know later?”

The latter example works really well for people who are just starting the practice of saying no. It is honest (I want to say yes) while also giving you time (Can I let you know?) to come back and say no.

Will you feel resentful if you say Yes? If you have an inkling that you will be resentful by saying yes then you truly need to consider saying no. Resentment is a great indicator that you are doing something that feels unfair to you.

List the pros and cons of saying no. Ask yourself what would you gain by saying no? What would you lose if you said no? Then take a deep breath and make a conscious decision, not a “yes by default” but a conscious yes or no decision.

Of course we cannot always say no whenever we want to. If we did all relationships and work would cease to exist! But there are times when we can, and should, say no.  In doing so we free ourselves of unnecessary burdens and obligations which brings us much closer to the life we want to live.

Let’s do this together! Share your successes and struggles with us in the comments section.

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