No, No, No – I said No!!!!!
Did you know that saying ‘no’ can actually lead to less stress in our lives? A 2010 Iranian study showed higher assertiveness & saying no leads to a less stressed live. Interesting!
While saying no can lead to all sorts of internal talk, conflict, fear of rejection, arguments, negative reactions, it can also be a powerful thing. Not being able to say no tells people they are higher up the food chain than you are, their needs, wants, desires are more important that yours. What would it be like to not run yourself ragged doing everyone else’s bidding & have time for yourself? Would that be a good thing?
I know I had a difficult time in the beginning saying no to anyone, especially if I thought I would offend them or loose them or be rejected. So I started slowly, I started with ‘maybe’ or ‘can I get back to you’. I began with little things, when someone asked me to drop everything I would say, ‘give me 5 minutes’ or ‘I need to go to the loo, I’ll help when I finish’. It was only small but it was the start of me being able to put myself first for the first time in my life.
If you automatically say yes, then you may feel you don’t have the ability to take it back. I had a situation recently when someone asked me to do something for them. I instantly said yes, but realised I wasn’t comfortable with that, so within 60 seconds I said no & told them why. I offered an alternative I was comfortable with & the person was OK with my choice & I felt empowered so it was a win / win.
I remember a client telling me that she couldn’t even sit on the loo without one of her kids barging in demanding she find their socks, book, uniform, etc. We talked about her feelings of guilt about not being available to her kids & what message it was sending them. She now has a clear & strong boundary about closed doors & her own space & her kids respect that & that a closed door is a no go zone for anyone else in the family. She has now empowered herself by learning to say no, such a little word, yet such a strong & powerful one at the same time.
So how can you start to say maybe, or let me thinking about it, or I let you know in 1/2 an hour?