Giving Yourself the Power to Say No

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Taking the time to say no can be so difficult. As moms, wives, and friends we can find it extremely hard to say no when someone asks something of us.   We try to balance all our family can throw at us, and then when something more is asked we either jam it into the schedule or cut something personal to us.  The reality is, cramming all this stuff into our schedule is running us ragged.

Why is it so hard to say ‘No’ when we need to?

Think about it. Your family has sports going on, birthdays or party’s to attend, work to be done at home, and then the phone rings, someone needs you to help them out in some way.  Even with a full day ahead of you, what do we tend to do? We tend to squeeze it in somewhere spreading ourselves too thin.  We do what we feel is the right thing by helping someone else out, but in the meantime, we are running ourselves ragged.

When this scenario happens what are the first things we cut out? Things for ourselves.  That long bubble bath we wanted just got pushed off, getting our nails done, or going to the gym can happen later.  The urgency of the new item takes over our day.

So when we have busy schedules already planned, how do you say no?  I know it’s hard, we want to be a help to those closest to us. Who cares that we have sports and a party to attend when a coworker needs a day off at the last minute? We can make it work, right?

There are times where it can be quite easy to say no. Like the co-worker situation above.  It isn’t a hard decision to stay away from work when we have plans right? Well, maybe for some of us it can be, lol. There are times where saying no is more difficult, like when a friend calls and needs you to watch her kids because the sitter canceled at the last minute.

Look, I’m not here to convince you to never help your friends and family, or even to never help out a co-worker in need.  Things happen and we will rely on their generosity in due time.  There just needs to be a balance.

The genius words from a supervisor

A few years back I was working in this cute little shop, and my supervisor was asking everyone if they could cover a shift. It was a day that was to be my first day off in like 25 days because I was working 2 part time jobs.  She could see that I was torn between working and taking that day for myself and she asked me what I was thinking.  When I told her it was going to be my first day off in so long she said the magic words,

Sometimes we need to say no to things because our time is important. Making time for yourself is a commitment, just as our work schedule is and sometimes having no plans and doing nothing is our commitment.

Now, those words are paraphrased, as it has been a few years, but the meaning of her words are etched into my heart.   It doesn’t matter if your plan is only to sit on the couch all day watching Netflix, you need to make sure that plan is a priority.

It’s easy to say, well my plan was just to sit at home, so why not just change it and do something else?  What harm could it cause?  Well, it depends on what you’re wanting and needing.  Is this your first day to be home in months? Is it the first day without a hundred commitments?  Do you have other important plans that you can’t move?

Saying no is hard

It’s so difficult to say no sometimes.  I totally get it! I really do.  It is just important to strike that balance between having plans and doing things to recharge yourself.  You will have to think about the priorities.  Each situation will require some thought.

I have started saying no more and it can be amazing.  It isn’t that I don’t want to help others out, I will do almost anything for my friends and family. That being said, I make it a priority to spend time on myself and with my family. If I can help them without disrupting everything I will.  I have also been known to tell a friend that I’d love to help but I have plans, and if they can’t find anyone else to let me know and I would work it out.

Doing it this way gives me the out, my friend knows I have plans, but that I’m willing to help if there is no other option.  The friend can then go off and keep asking knowing I can help in a complete worst case scenario.  This way has honestly helped keep the balance as well.

The guilt of saying no

When I started saying no to unnecessary things in my life I felt guilt. How you deal with the guilt would depend on the situation.  Sometimes the guilt doesn’t last long, then there are times where the guilt is strong.  Striking the balance is key.  If you’re going to work yourself up feeling guilty for not helping then you’re not doing yourself any favors either.

You can easily find yourself saying yes to avoid the guilt of saying no.  You just need to be sure you prioritize your down time as much as your busy time.  It’s such an easy thing to overlook, and before you know it you’re guilty leading yourself into doing something you don’t necessarily want to do because you didn’t prioritize your down time.

One thing to remember

It is so easy to overschedule ourselves and to put our needs on the back burner when we get busy. Just don’t forget about yourself when things get busy. Don’t let your own needs become expendable in your life.

The old adage applies, “you can’t pour out of an empty bucket.”

Where are some places you can say no?


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  1. Heather

    July 11, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I find myself saying yes alot, when I really want to say no and the other trouble, at least for me is, I wind up getting angry and bottling it up and then after a while, I just shut down. You’re so right, we have to figure out a way to let go of the guilt of just simply saying no.

    1. Becky Miller

      July 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      It can be so hard at times because we don’t want to say no, but there needs to be a balance to it all.

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