Learning to say ‘no’: How life-changing can it be?
In case you read the latest post, the main theme was about recognizing the people-pleaser within ourselves and the impact it has in our life. I believe none of us would like to spend a lifetime pleasing someone else, focusing on someone’s needs to then look back and realize that the spotlight should have been pointed at yourself.
It is not about being selfish or not caring. It is learning how to prioritize yourself and your needs. Developing self-awareness by being able to ask yourself the tough questions and being open to listen to yourself enables you to help and support others along the way. Though, how can you nurture your loved ones, how can you be a responsible team member or manager, how can you be a caring friend if you do not know yourself? If you do not acknowledge your boundaries and set up your own priorities?
We have talked briefly about the value of living your truth, no matter how different if feels from that of the ones surrounding you. What does that mean exactly? Living your truth is being who you are, is living the life you want, fulfilling your dreams, not being afraid of what others think by showing your Self to them. How can that happen if you are constantly attending to others’ needs or always saying yes to what is asked of you?
Can you remember the last time you said yes when you really wanted to say no? As relevant as making yourself heard by assertively expressing your point of view, is the ability to clearly state what you want or do not want. Saying no is never easy for a multitude of reasons. We don’t want to disappoint our family and friends, or to be rude to our colleagues or to our boss. At some conscious level, we want to be accepted, loved, cherished, acknowledged. Even when we feel uncomfortable? Even when we are asked to do something we do not feel like doing? Yeah, it seems like natural human behavior. We keep forgetting that we are allowed to say no.
Learning to say no is somehow like riding a bike for the first time. At first, feels such a tremendous effort struggling to find the balance and keep straight. After a while, it gets easier until our body and mind start acting synchronously. Saying no makes us uncomfortable and we stumble to find the right words without sounding insensitive or feeling guilty. The same way, after a couple of times, saying no becomes more natural as the discomfort we once felt turns into us being our genuine Self. So, next time you feel like exercising the ‘no muscle’, start by saying no to something you usually say yes to. Not just for the sake of saying it, but because you do not feel like doing what is being asked of you. It can be anything from grabbing a late drink after work, lending money to a friend, giving away your last burger bite. And you do not have to justify yourself if you do not want to.
Remember: You are not rejecting the person you say no to. You are declining a request or an invite because YOU do not feel up for it, regardless of the reasons behind. You can always say yes next time and the time after that. Saying no occasionally, does not make you a ‘no person’, just someone who knows themselves and what they want. And who better to live the life of their dreams, if not someone who knows what to fight for.