NO is a complete sentence. Don’t you love that reminder. But realistically, we need to learn the 5 ways to say NO without feeling TOO guilty.
It’s time for a little compassion with a kick- Let’s get real now! If you are always doing the things that others want you to do, or are doing stuff from a misguided place of feeling shitty about yourself if you don’t do it – well maybe its time to gird your loins and grow up? I have, many a time, done stuff because it was the right thing to do, or because it was “expected of me” or sometimes I just felt too ashamed to say no, cos’ I didn’t believe I deserved it ….the list goes on and on. IF you keep it up, like I did for a while, well then you will never get around to the stuff that’s cool, delicious and exhilarating to YOU. You will be one miserable creature on the planet.
Of course it’s tough to say no – I mean the voices in your head just don’t shut up do they? – What will they think, it makes me selfish, they need me, my stuff can wait, I have to do more, of course I’ll skip yoga to do this, I’m too tired to tell the kids to put their toys away…. blab la bla it goes on and on.
NO @#$$%!^!&!&**!!! (That was just a LOT of emphasis!)
Actually NO. The world is full of people doing all sorts of things for the wrong reason – like a job they hate, living in a house with a lifestyle they can’t afford, in a relationship that seriously doesn’t serve them, taking on projects at work beyond expectations not because they want the promotion but because they are the dogsbody, generally making commitments nodding their head yes when their heart is SCREAMING NO -people who are then so miserable that its almost impossible to fathom doing any good for anyone else. OR perhaps are so hell bent on pleasing everyone else, putting self at the bottom of the pile, that you are feeling deeply depressed, inadequate, unfulfilled and VERY busy but oh boi, VERY BORED!
Is this you at the moment? Or someone in your life that you see doing this?
One of the challenges humans face is the art of attempting to say no without feeling guilty. Do you think a lion feels guilty for killing the buck, or the hyena stealing the carcass from the lion? NO, just do it. Maybe that’s a little harsh because we have compassion, generosity, a conscience – but you also need to put YOURSELF back on the top of your priority list! OK, so maybe it’s really impossible for us not to feel ANY miniscule twinge of guilt whatsoever, but we are faced with the dilemma of doing it anyway. Especially when you start putting this concept of saying NO! into place- people are SHOCKED when you DARE to say no! Seriously you will get a heck of a lot of push- back doing it, but what if the tinge of guilt is fleeting, and the delight of standing up for yourself, getting clearer boundaries, being more honest will far outweigh that feeling of guilt. If you don’t try, you’ll never know?
These two concepts of guilt and saying no seem inextricable linked in our brains, and yet it is very debilitating and energy draining to say the least. It is darn near impossible to feel intrinsic joy and be fully alive when you are filled with guilt. Resentment, being pissed off at other people for so much stuff, and not giving the things that truly matter, your time and energy will not make for a HAPPIER YOU! We need to learn that we are allowed to say no, and in fact if you want your life and the world to be a better place you are OBLIGED to say no to certain things that come onto your radar – but you may need some help in getting your head around this foreign concept. It all boils down to the concept of self worth and believing that your time is of value to YOU. When you are constantly saying yes to everyone else and putting yourself at the bottom of your own priority list, you will be the loser in your own life.
Here are some tips to nudge you along the way as you get started. Feel the panic already?
TIP 1 – Re-frame!
Rather than thinking about saying NO to others….re-frame it to think about saying YES to yourself. This simple switch will help to minimise and reduce the guilt trip a tad. The moment you take yourself more seriously and value your own priorities and goals to achieve each day, others will start taking you more seriously as well. You teach others how to treat you, so if you want a different result to always feeling like the doormat -take different action. Start with SMALL “NO’s” about little things to exercise the NO muscle! Then it is locked into your body for the bigger ones. Or in reality, maybe the bigger ones are easier for you – I know that when I’m pushed beyond my own self imposed boundaries, I can bellow Nooooooooo and simply be DONE with that issue. What is it like for you?
TIP 2 – Get Over Yourself!
SIMPLY – get over yourself! Harsh but true – the compassion with a kick! Stop thinking that you need to be all things to all people. Whilst this seems wonderfully generous, you will come off second best and land up having nothing to offer. This will lead directly to the idea that you do not value yourself in the equation, and every time you say yes to others when you really ought to be saying no, you will land up feeling resentful, angry, used and taken advantage of. So give up this need to feel bad about yourself and to make you feel needed and important through being everything to everyone and nothing to yourself.
TIP 3 – Buffer zone
Use a pre-designed “buffer line as a standard response from now on whilst still learning the art of saying NO. This is especially great to apply to the your potentially vulnerable zone – e.g. the one where you always say yes then kick yourself afterwards – maybe you always get caught by other mom’s for school runs, or you are always the sucker taking on the extra work load, or you are always the one that travels across town to meet your friend – You can pull it out of your toolbox when you need it. Try this out for practice…when someone asks you to do something, you can say;
“I would love to help you out but I must check my diary and I will get back to you tomorrow”.
That way you do not say YES as your standard answer, and effectively created a pause for you to assess if you want to do it or not. Be aware you normally say YES out of habit.
TIP 4 – EASY DOES IT
Never say an outright NO as this can feel horribly foreign to you and rude to the other person. So you could start your answer with …
“I would love to but I am unable to right now”.
Please remember that you do not ever need to give reasons or excuses as to why you cannot do something for someone else….give up the need to JUSTIFY your every answer to someone else. NO is actually a complete sentence.
TIP 5 – PATIENCE!
Have patience with yourself. Just because you want to say no doesn’t make it easy! Remember you are learning a new skill that’s foreign to you. It can help to acknowledge the following idea …
“Even though it is really difficult for me to say no without feeling guilty, I am going to value myself enough to say no anyway”
This can help you remember you are chartering new territory and the moment you do NOT expect it to be easy every time, it will help you keep moving forward. In no time at all it will become second nature for you to discern when to say yes and when to say no from your inner guidance as opposed to guilt and habit.
If you need some support on how to prioritize yourself and say YES to yourself, I am running IGNITE YOUR LIFE – starting on the 5th MArch
NOW GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU SAY NO!