Do you hate disappointing people? Do you find yourself saying yes to too many things even though you really don’t want to do them?
I know I have.
For me, I remember a time almost 10 years ago (wow, that’s weird to say!) when I had first started teaching yoga and life coaching. I was so keen and eager that I would take on everything anyone asked of me.
“Can you sub my 4 classes this week?”
Sure I can!
“Can you teach weekends?”
Sure I can!
“Can you give up your whole life so you can run around like a crazy person making everyone else’s life easier?”
Sure I can!
It didn’t take long for me to start to burn out, feel resentful of all the things I had taken on, and worst of all: I didn’t do the tasks I had taken on very well.
I was often late, tired, and not happy to be there.
I’m not the typical person who doesn’t say no.
For me, it’s not about worrying that I’d upset people by saying no, or that I am a people pleaser, because that’s not my nature.
I have a hard time saying no when I get really passionate and want more of something.
At one point, I was teaching 22 regular yoga classes a week, aaaand I still subbed for other teachers!
It didn’t take too long for me to figure out that this wasn’t going to be sustainable.
I felt in my heart that I was not doing a good job teaching that many classes, and started saying no to subbing and let go of classes until I felt rejuvenated again.
For many of my clients, they have a hard time saying no for other reasons:
They want to be helpful, and don’t want to be seen as unhelpful or selfish.
They don’t want people to be disappointed, or upset with them.
They feel like they have to say yes, and no isn’t an option.
It’s uncomfortable for them to say no.
They worry how others will see them, or feel about them if they say no.
They like to make others happy, and will often do that at the expense of their own happiness.
Everyone has heard that the word “no” is a complete sentence, so why is it so hard for so many of us to say?
Here’s a few quick tools you can use to say no with more ease
1. Ask yourself what is the true cost of saying yes?
If you feel resentful, angry, or taken advantage of is it worth saying yes to? Imagine you are the person who asked you to do the favor. Do you think that if they knew this was how you felt that they would honestly want you to do it? Do you think it’s worth adding those poisonous feelings to your relationship just because you don’t want to say no?
2. Big picture thinking.
Think about how you want your life to be, what’s important to you, and what living in alignment with that looks like. Does this request fit into this picture? If not, then it’s easy to say no because it not a fit for you right now.
3. Do not explain yourself.
This is the number one thing I hear people do when they finally do decide to say no, they explain the shit out of why they can’t do it. Don’t do that! Nobody wants to hear it! The only reason we explain our no’s is because WE are uncomfortable with saying it, and want to make OURSELVES feel better about it. They want to know, “are you in, or out?” not why. Also, the more information you give them, the more information they have to bargain with you. Just don’t do it.
4. When you say no, you say yes to something else.
You say yes to your time, your freedom, yourself. I remember reading a quote that went something like this:
“The most successful people say no 80% of the time.” No shit?
The more you say no to things you don’t want to do, the more time you have to spend on the things you DO want to do.
In a world as time starved as ours saying no, is one of the easiest ways to make time for the things that are most important to us.
I’d love to hear from you now! Tell me, what’s your go-to line for saying no? When do find it most challenging to say no? Let me know in the comments!
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