Guest Author - Tracy Hamilton
Saying ‘no’ to others can leave many of us feeling guilty, and like we are ‘bad’ people. However, saying ‘no’ is our right.
When we are always saying ‘yes’ then our ‘yes’ loses its appreciation. The more we say ‘yes’, the more we are expected to carry on saying ‘yes’. Do you say ‘yes’ out of obligation, or because you want to say it?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s admirable to help others, although not at the expense of our-self. If you find that you are feeling resentful, then you are not putting yourself first, and risking being taken advantage of.
I know how difficult and challenging it can be to say ‘no’. We tend to feel shame, guilt, anxiety, tension, and feelings of being judged by others as being selfish.
Saying ‘no’ does not mean that you are selfish, it means that you respect yourself enough to not allow others to take advantage of you. Saying ‘no’ is a strength that comes from knowing your limits, and not pushing them to make someone else feel better; at your own expense.
Saying ‘no’ does not have to come with a reason either. You can say ‘no’, and not qualify it. For example, if a friend asks you to help with something, and it is not convenient you can say, ‘sorry I can’t today, but I’m around tomorrow if that helps’?
This shows that you are willing to help them, while letting them know that you have other things happening in your life, and can’t just drop everything at a moments notice; but will be there for them tomorrow. This example is reasonable, and shows that you care about yourself, and them.
Many of us have someone in our life that is constantly demanding of our time, energy and input. These can be the hardest people to say ‘no’ to since compliance has led them to become reliant; and to expect that you will always do as they ask. Sometimes this obligation can be without gratitude, or lack of appreciation; which often creates resentment, and feelings of entrapment.
Do you have someone like this in your life? Perhaps it is time to take back control, and ask yourself the following:
Can you think of ways to say ‘no’ to them?
What is the reason that you are giving yourself that is allowing you to stay compliant?
What feelings come up for you when you want to say ‘no’ but end up saying ‘yes’?
Do you want this to be the case for the rest of your life?
What is the worst that can happen?
If someone is completely dependant on you, and you have to give up yourself and your life to help them; then it is worth investigating outside help and support. No-one should be expected to fully give themselves up for another person, and if you do, that obligation can create health problems; both mentally and physically.
If we don’t make time in our life to care for our own mental and physical well-being then who will? When we look after our-self first, and are honest about what we can, and cannot do; we open the way for us to express ‘no’ when it is warranted.