I saw this today and I LOVED it.. Very insightful and so true. Painfully true. Ugh..
LEARN TO SAY "NO"
By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
You want more free time in your life? You want more happiness?
You want more love? Then learn to comfortably say that great little word,
Most of us became frightened to say "no" when our parents
withheld approval (or worse) the first time we shook our heads from side to
side, frustrating parental efforts to feed us that last bite of food
in order to "clean up the plate." Or perhaps we were punished when we
put our hands atop our diapered hips and refused a parental request.
In any case, saying "no" usually became risky very early in life, when
loss of love was life threatening.
On the other side of this dynamic, children quickly recognize
that when they conform, obey, and verbalize "yes" to the expectations of
parents, they are usually rewarded with increased approval, praise and
affection. Therefore, we grow up striving to meet everybody else’s
expectations and requests by acceding to the wants and needs of
others, rather than attending to our own.
We need to learn to say "no" to anything and everything that
costs us too much time, money or energy. We need to say "no" to
unreasonable or impossible requests. We need to learn to say "no" to
situations we currently tolerate, but don’t really like. We need to
learn to say "no" to time wasters such as interruptions,
procrastination, junk mail, junk activities, junk food, junk in our
houses and junk in general. We need to learn to say "no" to
over-promising and then appearing undependable, feeling guilty and
striving to accomplish too much. We need to "under promise and over
In our childlike fear of saying "no," we often engage in strange
and indirect behaviors. We make promises with no intention of keeping
them. We avoid people. We stay out of situations that might teach us
things we need to know. We hide our true feelings and create facades.
We lie. We strive to be all things to all people. We over-extend
our commitments. We become people pleasers. We become sick. We
avoid work. We develop self-defeating habits. We have "no time for
ourselves." We become sneaky. We tolerate intolerable circumstances
and people. We form only superficial relationships…easy to dissolve
if relationship demands become too strong.
There are many positive personal advantages to learning to
comfortably say "no." Saying "no" sets personal limits. It
establishes your boundaries. It protects you from the intrusion of
others. It defends you against exhaustion. It honors your
preferences. It allows you more "free" time to pursue your own
desires, needs and wants. It educates others about how to treat you,
how to behave around you and what you will and will not tolerate from
them. It keeps your integrity intact. It simplifies your life.
When we say "no" regularly, we form strong, honest and direct
relationships. We become comfortable in chaotic circumstances. We
become healthier. Our self-confidence grows. Our self-esteem
increases. Our stress level diminishes.
Saying "no" becomes an art when you learn how to do it with
gentleness and love. You can say almost anything, if the tone of your
voice is emotionally neutral. When you state your own preferences
instead of flat-out saying "no," it softens the refusal and provides
alternatives. When you acknowledge you heard the request and thank
the other for asking, then follow that with a statement of what you
are going to do instead of acceding to the request, it smoothes the
transaction and both parties feel more comfortable.
When you say "no" a lot, you "make time" available to you for
your own well-being. There are fewer demands on your time. You experience
less time-pressure. There are fewer felt obligations, so less guilt
and resentment. The words, "I’m too busy" rarely escape your lips.
Learning to say "no" allows you to easily say "yes" to the most
important things in life. And saying "yes" to Life is, after all,
what time, happiness and love are all about.
So I’m learning to say "No" in order to say "Yes" to myself. Yey me! (I just had a mental image of Elle Woods from the scene in "Legally Blonde" where she sees her name on the list of interns and turns around and yells, "ME!!!!") Lord, new readers are going to think I’m the most self absorbed person. Warning to the uninformed…I’ve been working on my guilt complex and people pleasing ways for a few years now and every year I declare it, "The year of SassySouth, I’m choosing ME!" and then some friend(s) or family members have major life events and I put myself on the back burner again. Ironic. At some point I just had to say, "Ok, NOW. no really. NOW." So today I chose me and swung by Walmart on my way home to pick up some petunias because the ones I planted from seed aren’t supposed to be ready to go into the ground until almost JULY. WHAT?! Clearly I misread the packaging…or was extremely optimistic.
And lest I forget, Miss YankeeSouth sent me THIS ARTICLE after reading yesterday’s blog and I truly, wholeheartedly, emphatically AGREE. Also, big hugs to Auburn Sis. Love you girls!