There is power in learning the art of saying “no.” Do you find yourself feeling resentful, because you don’t have the time for the things that feed your soul?
I have a desire for people to need me, and to think highly of me. I often worry that if I say “no,” I will lose that. The truth is when I am suffering from burnout, it isn’t from doing the things that make me happy, like working out, spending time with my husband and pup, or this blog. It is from over extending myself for things that do not feed me. A lot of us worry that saying no is a selfish act, but the truth is when we say “yes” and are drained or not happy about being there, we really can’t serve them either.
When someone asks me to do something, I tend to look at my calendar and find a way to make it happen. Even if that means I have no time for myself to decompress. I am an introvert, I refuel by being alone. I enjoy my own company, and when I don’t get that time I become cranky. So, my challenge to myself is to trust my gut and say “no” when it is appropriate.
It is okay to say “no” to plans, without having something else going on; because you need that Sunday night to decompress, fold your laundry, and get ready for the week. The hardest part for people who identify as people pleasers, is that not everyone is going to have a positive reaction to you saying “no.” When you have been a person without boundaries, it can be shocking for those around you when you set some. We often feel racked with guilt. I believe that with practice this gets easier and people become familiar with your boundaries. For example, if your boundary is that plans on Sunday night are not good for you, people will learn to ask you to hang out a different night.
We are not endless fountains of energy. We have to replenish ourselves in order to be able to serve others. That way when we do say “yes” to something it is because we are genuinely happy to be there, and I believe people can sense that. An added benefit is that we have less resentments. Resentments can eat you alive, while the other person has no idea that you are feeling that way.
We are also able to be more successful in our endeavors, because we can focus on them.
Here are some mantras to help with this:
“Taking time to care for myself is not selfish.”
“I am a person who practices good self-care”
“I take time to nourish my mind, body, and soul”
“I am the master of my time”
I have friends that have mastered this practice in their lives, and I believe them to be happier for it. I have a great respect for the way they set boundaries. When setting boundaries, we can be kind and firm. Their reaction to our boundaries is their business not ours. State your boundaries in a positive way, “I would love to see you, but I am unavailable on Sunday night. How does Friday night work?” or “I hear that your are really stressed out about your move, but I am unable to help you this weekend.”
If you don’t speak up about something that is bothering you, you cannot expect a change to occur. I know it can be scary at first, but “By being authentic, and expressing your boundaries compassionately, relationships often continue to grow deeper.” (Hanks, the author of The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide for Overwhelmed Women)
If someone in your life can not respect your boundaries, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship. Why do you need a relationship that is a source of drama or anxiety?
This week I challenge you to say “No,” to something that doesn’t feel right to you, or unnecessarily stresses you out.