Ribbing him, I said, “You gotta go to that!”
He abruptly replied, “No, I do not.”
And I thought who says No?!
I was raised to say yes to everything. My family’s motto was “take what you get and shut up.” Saying yes was our knee-jerk reaction, whether we liked what we were doing or not.
Dennis and I weren’t raised under the same roof, so he was not privy to our logic. And when he said no to something he didn’t want to do, I secretly admired him for not caving.
In my mind, no wasn’t an option.
But it made me think about the countless times I got myself into trouble by saying yes, when I should have said no.
We’ve all been there. We get invited to something we don’t want to do. We take on a job, even a spouse, we know isn’t a good match. We buy something we can’t afford, isn’t the right color and it makes our butts look fat – just because it’s on sale.
Our insides scream NOOOOO! Then against our better judgment, we do it anyway.
We say yes out of desperation – believing there will never be another opportunity (or sale) like this one ever again. We say yes to please others and to keep the peace. We say yes just so we don’t have to make another decision-hello, we just did. And we say yes so we can feel like a martyr – look at all I have to do.
Yada, yada, yada…
When we put everyone else’s needs first, then resentment (and buyer’s remorse) creep in. We waste time and energy on regret and worry. We get crabby and our loved ones end up in our line of fire. Often, we bail on commitments at the last minute, which makes us look like a flake.
I have created situations that even I didn’t want to do. Then I forced others to get on board, because I knew they couldn’t say no either!
Misery loves company and yes, we were all miserable.
And the whole time I was thinking if I’d just said no…
Part of living a thriving life is having the ability to put our needs, wants and desires before others. Saying no to them means saying yes to me.
Here are some things I now do differently that help me stay out of trouble.
And if I can learn to say no, so can you. Here’s what you do.
- Instead of saying yes automatically, say “Let me check my schedule.” This creates buffer time and allows you to see if you can or want to do it or not.
- Trust your gut. If it’s screaming NO, then say no. If you feel resentment and become overwhelmed at the thought doing it, that’s a good indicator you’ll want to pass. Because those feelings will only magnify as time goes on.
- Make a list of pros and cons. Put it on paper so you can see it in black and white.
- Get objective feedback. Call someone you trust and read them the list. Another set of ears can help you with your decision.
- Make sure it’s in your best interest and not just the interest of the other party. Save your time for projects close to your heart. And remember, you don’t have to give away the farm, exhausting yourself in the process.
- If it’s of genuine interest to you, and it will fit into your schedule and priorities, then by all means say YES.
- If you do say yes to the project, decide in the beginning how much time you can commit, be firm and stick with it until the end.
- And if you don’t absolutely love how the outfit looks on you, then DON’T buy it, even if it is on sale.
I said yes for so long, it’s taken me a while to get comfortable saying no. But creating buffer time, paying attention to how I feel, listing pros and cons and getting feedback from someone you trust, gives me the chance to put my best interest first.
The more I practice putting me first, the more comfortable and empowered I feel and the easier it gets.
Saying no to them means saying yes to you, and that is part of living a thriving life.
And if I can learn to say no, so can you.