Why Can’t I Just Say ‘No’???
Have you ever had that experience when someone asks you to do something and you really, really, really want to say ‘No’ and yet you find yourself saying ‘Yes’ then spending the rest of the day wondering why the hell you did that and trying desperately to come up with a plan that gets you out of it?
Yeah, me too.
Why do we do that when we have enough on our plates already, or it’s something we really don’t want to get involved in?
What is it about saying ‘No’ that sticks in our throats and makes us feel selfish, unhelpful or a total bitch?
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been brought up to be nice, to be helpful, to put ourselves out for another person, and all that is great.
However when being nice, helpful and putting ourselves out takes a toll on us physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, we need to make a change….and that change is usually to start saying ‘No’
Let’s think about saying ‘No’ as a parcel. We wrap it up in a box filled with ‘it’s not nice, you’re a bitch, you’re selfish, people will hate you, you’ve always helped before, you’re not a good person’ etc etc etc. And we daren’t ever open that box off because if we do, it’ll all come true and our deepest fears will be realized!
But the truth is, the only people who will get upset or cross at you saying ‘No’ are the ones who benefit from you saying ‘Yes’ all the time so of course you’ll be putting their noses out of joint, and of course they’ll get arsy about it. But they aren’t the people you really need or want in your life are they….
So how exactly do you start saying ‘No’ when you’ve always been the ‘Yes Man’ (or Woman)?
- You don’t have to say ‘No’ straight away. If you’re not sure whether to agree or not. Simply say ‘Thank you for asking me, let me think about it and I’ll get back to you later today/tomorrow’
NOTE: the response is on your time-frame, not theirs
- If you already know it’s a ‘No’, simply say ‘Thank you for asking me but that’s not something I can do/that works for me’If you have the desire to be helpful, you could add ‘Let me have a think about who else could do it’ or ‘Have you asked [Name], as they mentioned helping out the other day’
NOTE: Make sure the person you are nominating has shown an interest or would be willing to help out. Dumping something on another person is neither nice nor helpful!
- It may be a ‘Yes’ but not right now so you can say ‘Thank you, yes I can do that at [time] today/[future day]’
NOTE: You’re not asking if it’s OK to do it at that time or on that day, you are simply stating the time or day you can do it. If it doesn’t work for the other person you can negotiate or just go to number 2 above.
It really can be that simple. Take a deep breath and practice to yourself in the mirror. Try out the phrases above and alter them to suit you.
Each time you practice say it a little bit louder and when you feel more confident, take it into the real world.
Start small with someone you know won’t mind you saying ‘No’, and as you gain confidence try it out on different people and you’ll soon be the mistress of your time and space again!
This is based on one of the fabulous tools I learned in my coach training with One of many (TM) and something that makes a huge difference to the women I work with. To find out more about my programmes, visit themidlifemiracle.com