How do you feel when you say no?
If you got that pinch in your stomach just thinking about it, you’ll recognise the sense of anxiety when we try to tell someone they’re not getting what they want. So, we might cave, and let them get their way.
It’s not wrong, because it’s instinctive. What I mean is, there’s probably a good reason for saying yes when you mean no.
As children we might have said no a lot. We might have come across as defiant if, say, we didn’t want to eat our dinner.
For saying no, we might have got into trouble. Sometimes (for example), the punishment might be no pudding if you didn’t clear your plate. You might not have got into real trouble, but the message was “you’re going to miss out on something if you stick with that no”.
And, it came back at us too. We want to go out on a school night? The answer was probably – “No”. “Can I have some sweets?” Again, the answer probably – “No.”
So, from an early age we learn that saying no has consequences. We associate it with rejection and denial.
Fast forward to being an adult, and we carry this and other programming with us. We find ways to say yes to people, because we don’t want to pay the price. As a result we can become what’s known as “people pleasers”:
We say yes when we mean no.
We do things we don’t want to do.
We spend time with people we’d rather not.
We need to make our wellbeing a priority. We need to look at our yes’s, and put them on hold.
This week, set the intention to Delay Your Yes. Find ways to put off an answer, even if people are pressing you for one. You can say things like “that doesn’t work for me today, maybe tomorrow?” or “I’d like some time to think about that, can I let you know?” Or, “can you text/email me with the details and I’ll get back to you.” But remember if it’s not in your best interests, if it’s unhealthy or steals your mojo, you have a right to say no, without explaining yourself.
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©️ Delphi Ellis 2019