“No!” A Powerful Word for Achieving Life Balance
Do you often feel pressured to do things for others, even though you really don’t want to? Do you often say “yes” to others’ requests and then end up regretting it? All too often, it’s difficult for many people to just say “no.” Not saying that one little word can pile up expectations and obligations that can raise your stress level.
Constantly trying to please other people is emotionally and physically draining. Not surprisingly, many people pleasers report feeling stressed, drained, and tired much of the time. Fortunately it’s possible to change this pattern, feel better about yourself and live a more balanced life.
Breaking out of the people pleasing cycle is easier than you think. First, always bear in mind that for every request that you say “yes” to, you are saying “no” to something else. Remember that it is okay for you to say “no” so that you will have sufficient time each week to relax, exercise, have fun, spend time on a hobby or just have some time to yourself.
Remember that you are not required to give a reason for saying “no” to people’s requests. However, at times you may want to soften your “no” with a very brief, yet somewhat vague explanation. For example, you might say, “I have to say ‘no’ because my other commitments won’t allow me help at this time.”
It can also be helpful to soften your “no” with a compliment. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to serve on your committee this year. I do admire what you’re doing and I wish you well.” Another example is “For family reasons, I’m not able to take on any more commitments at this time. You’re organization is doing a great job and I thank you for thinking of me.”
Get in the habit of pausing or taking a breath before responding to someone’s request. You may want to answer requests with, “I need to think about it first, I’ll get back to you.” Another helpful response is “Let me check my schedule and call you back in ten minutes.” Use any phrase that you feel comfortable with that gives you time to consider your alternatives.