25 Mar 2013 Why you should say no
When you say yes to others make sure you are not saying no to yourself.
~ Paulo Coelho
Yes is positive and easy. It feels good to say. But it’s over-rated. You can’t always say yes. When you’re over-committed and stressed you’ll feel tense and run-down. Always leaving yourself for last can make you resentful.
Saying no is uncomfortable. What if they don’t like you any more? Are you letting them down? Hurting their feelings? Who wants to be seen as selfish or rude, get into conflict, burn bridges or miss an opportunity…
But good things can happen when you say no:
- You’re more likely to stay healthy and sane. Saying no can be a path to stress relief. And when you look after yourself you can help others more. Just like putting the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.
- You won’t let yourself and your existing obligations down. You’ll be more dependable if you only say yes when you have the time and ability to do something.
- You’ll save some time to get involved in things that are important to you. A little time spare doesn’t automatically mean you should commit to the first thing crossing your path.
- People will respect you more when you respect yourself and have boundaries. Those who always say yes just to be liked are often recognised as pushovers.
- You give others an opportunity to step up. They might not do things the way you would, but the job will still get done.
To decide whether you say yes or no focus on what is important to you, prioritise. Most importantly, take guilt out of the equation. Then weigh up the ‘yes-to-stress’ ratio – don’t say yes if it means months of added stress.
It’ll feel awkward at first, but you’ll soon find a balance. Spell out no (don’t leave it open to interpretation like ‘I’m not sure’). Repeat if necessary. Be brief and honest, but respectful to those who asked you – because asking isn’t easy either.