A few years ago, I did the year of yes. I said yes to everything. And although there was a lot of fun new experiences, it was incredibly draining, physically and emotionally. This year I am trying the year of no, kind of.
If you are constantly saying yes to other people, then you are constantly saying no to yourself and your goals. Ask yourself if what is being requested of you is in line with your goals. Will it benefit you in some way and bring you closer to your success, or will you simply be spending your time on someone else’s good opportunity? You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects and agendas. Saying no to others means you are saying yes to yourself, which is ultimately of even greater benefit to the ones you were saying no to.
It’s natural to want to help others. People matter, and we want to matter to people. But often we’re afraid we won’t be liked if we say no. We don’t want to deal with another person’s anger toward us, so we say yes and then we get irritated because we’re taking time away from the things we most want to do. Fear stops us. We also feel guilty, thinking we’re hurting someone by saying no. We want to avoid conflicts at any cost — don’t ruffle feathers — don’t create a bad situation with friends, colleagues at work or loved ones. Just say yes and deal with being stressed and overscheduled and resentful.
The people who are in the pattern of saying “yes” all the time seem to feel that if and when they say “no”, they must give an explanation. But unless someone asks for an explanation, no explanation needs to be given.
At times in my life, I have struggled with doing too much and not recognizing that saying yes, was an energy drain. Ultimately, my true talents were not fully being applied. Learning to say no has been one of the best things I have done for myself. Not only has it challenged me to overcome my fear of rejection, it has helped me to feel in control. I don’t feel trapped, resentful, or guilty anymore. Instead, I feel empowered and free. If you want that same feeling of freedom and empowerment, then take control, challenge yourself, and learn to say no.
Be firm and do not apologize, which many “yes people” do. There is no need to apologize; you may be sympathetic, but as a human being there are only so many hours in the day. Do not over-schedule yourself, because this will only lead to a list of stress-induced behaviors. Another option is to politely decline, by sharing, “I have a conflict”. This is a true statement, since the conflict is time with yourself, to nurture yourself and your energy.
2019 is the year the Suburban Goddess Mom will say no. Just say no!