But first...let's look at saying "yes". When someone asks you for your time, your energy, your input, your participation, do you get a little THRILL from saying "yes" and seeing the relief, the joy, the approval in that person's face? Of course you do! None of us enjoys disappointing others. We want to CONTRIBUTE, to feel valued and appreciated. All of this leads to our knee-jerk response of "Sure! I'd be happy to do that for you! I'm sure I can squeeze that in somewhere."
A NEW WAY OF THINKING
Saying "yes" is a way for us to connect with others, to establish relationships and build community. People invite us into their lives by asking us to PARTICIPATE in some way, and it's only human to want to say "yes" to this. On the flip side, therefore, we experience saying "no" as a disconnection, as a way of SEPARATING ourselves from others, and creating distance. Connection to others is a big part of the human experience. And I want to suggest that connection with ourselves is just as (if not more) critical. It's easy to avoid addressing our own needs when our calendars and to-do lists are filled with addressing others' needs. This is not to say that addressing others' needs is not a noble thing to do; of course it is! But when it's at the expense of your own self-actualization, then you owe it to yourself to ask "why?"
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU SAY NO?
It may go against the grain to say "no" when others seek you out. For on thing, it can feel selfish ("Well, the only reason I said 'no' was so that I could do something for me."). It can feel scary ("What if that person starts believing I'm not a team player?"). These are genuine and valid concerns, often based on not TRUSTING ourselves enough. Not trusting ourselves to be a good enough friend, good enough parent, good enough partner, good enough employee, unless we are always saying "yes". Could the FEAR of losing that "good enough" status be what is stopping you from saying "no"?
SAYING NO TO A = SAYING YES TO B
Consider this ALTERNATIVE perspective: when you say "no" to one request, you are saying "yes" to something else:
TAKING CARE OF YOU
Do you ever feel "overwhelmed"? Is your schedule ever "out of control"? Are you "overbooked"? Does everyone want a piece of you? Are you all out of pieces? Is there any of you left for you? You need this for your own well-being, mental health, and your ability to be of value to others. Yet you keep saying "yes" to other people, other projects, other events that erode your important promises to yourself. Saying "no" is about making a CHOICE. Why shouldn't you choose YOU from time to time?
THE POSSIBILITY OF UNEXPECTED REVELATIONS
The next time someone asks you for something (including your time), ask yourself: If I say "yes" what will I have to give up that important to me? If I say "no" what will I have time to say "yes" to instead? The answers to these questions will be revealing windows into what you truly VALUE and what you are passionate about.
Celenia Delsol is the founder of Flow & Order, and is an Organizer & Life Coach. You may contact her at (925) 408-3310 or .
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