Want to reduce stress in your life? it’s easier than you may think. Learn the art of saying no.
Why can’t we say no?
Why is it so difficult for us to say no? Because we want to perform and be at our best, right? We want to give everything to our loved ones and we want to be successful. We also want to help and be perceived as useful. We want to feel needed. Being needed gives us that sense of value that we all crave.
Unfortunately, it’s easier than we may have ever guessed for other people to take up nearly all of our time and bring on needless stress and complication into our lives. It’s because we can’t say no.
What happens when we don’t say no?
Something unexpected happens when we don’t say no as often as we should. The thing that happens is that we spread ourselves too thin. We can’t do an exceptional job on any one thing because we are just so busy juggling a whole bunch of different things that we said we would do. This results in our performance suffering because we have too much on our plate. Now we feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Another thing that happens when we don’t say no is that people may begin to encroach on what little time we have left for ourselves and our own lives. They start to see us as that yes person who will always come through in a time of need.
When they have something that should get done, who do they call? Maybe at first you feel honored to be that person. Again, being needed delivers a sense of value. But the flip side is that our own personal business gets pushed to the back burner.
Maybe we never have enough time to be with our family, or maybe our house is always a disorganized mess because it’s all too easy to get us to drop everything and come to the rescue of someone else.
All of this, because we don’t know how to say no. Just one little word that holds so much power and can relieve us of so many problems in our lives. Want less stress? Stop saying YES!
What might happen if we said no a little more often?
Here are a few good repercussions of learning how to say no:
- We will be able to pick and choose the activities that we are really truly good at and can help others with.
- We’ll get our time back– time that’s needed to put our own lives in order, which means we will feel much less stressed.
- Saying no may be good for our health. if you’re the type who always has too much going on in the name of accommodating everyone else and their needs, you may unknowingly be stressing yourself to an early grave. So be willing to unburden yourself of all this extra responsibility that perhaps was never yours to begin with.
Once we start to say no we won’t be so scared to say it, and we might even get good at saying it. Saying no feels good, like a huge weight has just been lifted off your shoulders. You don’t have to be curt or rude or abrupt or off-putting when you say no to people. You don’t even have to apologize when you say no. Saying no does not mean having no manners.
How can we get better at saying no?
Wondering how you can get better at saying no to people and get back your own personal time and reduce stress levels?
First, recognize just how important it is to say no when the situation calls for it. The people-pleaser inside of you does not always need to get his or her way. In fact, you AND your inner pleaser will feel so much better once you’ve become assertive with your no’s.
Next, take some time to rehearse the different ways you can give people a gentle but firm no. Let them down easy. Figure out how you’d like to phrase your no. It could be something like “oh, I’d really love to help you but I just can’t seem to fit it in this week.” “Thank you for thinking of me but I’m unable to help this time. Try me again in the future!”
Make sure that you keep it vague when you give your no. You definitely should not give a reason. Giving a reason prompts people to help you find a workaround so that your no can become a yes. This is not what you want. No means no, and your nervous system, not to mention your family, will thank you if you get good at saying it.
This post is part of the series, People Pleasers Who Want Stronger Boundaries.