How many times each week would you find yourself in situations doing things that you really would rather not be doing? Going for drinks or dinner with people who you are really not that fond of? Going out for dinner rather than staying at home and catching up on your favourite television show? Or going to a distant friends baby shower, kitchen tea or birthday drinks?
The ability to say no and the ease with which you do this is a powerful marker of the control you have over your life. Many people will attest to not feeling comfortable in saying no when their boundaries are being pushed as is the case when you are being encouraged to do something you do not really want to do (often by clients or at work), or when you think you ‘should’ do something even though your mind and your body is telling you not to.
The most common issue people have with saying no is that they feel guilty – they do not want to upset, disappoint or let someone down, no matter what the expense is to them. They would rather stay at work longer, or push their schedule to the max or further exhaust themselves in the process rather than saying no.
For all the mums, workers, carers who know they are being pushed to the brink – it is time to start to say no. No to other people’s expectations, no to social events you do not want to attend, no to your kids who are asking for something – again, no to your husband who wants you to visit his friends again this weekend and no to your boss or manager who always pushes the boundaries when it comes to work expectations.
The key with learning to say no is to say it without reason, excuse, or explanation. It is your right to say no if you mind and body rejects the offer, you do not have to apologise for it but the sooner you start to respect your boundaries and say no, the sooner you regain control over your destiny.
Once we manage to get through work each week, many of us are left with such small amounts of down time that in order to make sure we leave enough time for ourselves, sometimes we have to be strict with our time and say no to events that involve people who are outside our ‘inner sanctum’. A good question to ask yourself when you doubt whether you should attend an event is; ‘will this person be in my life in 10 years?” – If the answer is no, your time will be better spent with your family, your closest friends or even with yourself.