choose your image

Unappreciated? Resentful? Over Committed?

Does that sound familiar? 

That's a gigantic clue that you are saying yes when you mean no. 

Someone asks for a favor or you see someone in need, and you step right up to help out and save the day. It feels good for a moment, then reality sets in and you start wondering how to juggle it all. How will you have time for the things you already do, yourself, and this?

And when the big show of appreciation that you expect doesn't come, a big let down happens instead.

Why Is This Happening?

If we can shine a light on this, maybe we can stop it from happening again.

You promised. Once you give your word, you don't want to go back on it.
Obligation. That's what friends, team members, family members, and neighbors are for, right? We are supposed to do for each other.
Guilt. You will feel badly if you don't.
Hero complex. You hate to admit it, but you love saving people. It makes you feel important, loved, and needed.
The Golden Rule. You want others to look out for you, and this is the way to make that happen.
You don't want conflict. It's easier to do what someone wants than to deal with them wearing you down and still doing what they want.
Self-image. You want to look good. 
Fear of abandonment. If you don't please people, they may write you off.
Control or perfectionism. Nobody can do it as well as you can. It's easier to just do it yourself.
Fear of missing out. You don't want to be left out of a good time or something important.

"No" is the appropriate answer when we don't have time, energy, or money, don't want to, or when the thing that's being asked of us conflicts with our values or priorities.

You see, you cannot be happy if you go against your values.

How to Say No

Having a strategy may make it easier

Pause. Respond with "I'll get back with you. I need a moment to think."

Get clear on what you want.

Wait for a full body yes. This means that there is no tension in your body anywhere when you think of saying yes. If you can say yes with ease, it's a yes.

If you're a "Yes, but..." negotiate. Offer the terms that are agreeable to you, such as "I can't do lunch today, but I am free on Tuesday. Does that work?" 

If you're a no, respond only with "no, thanks." You don't need a reason to refuse. No is a complete answer. Giving a reason gives the other person space to overcome your objection. Once you have no objection is weakened, you may feel forced into say yes to what you don't want.

If the other person gets upset or wants to talk you into it, stay calm, keep repeating no or end the conversation. (This works with children, too). 

I know it's hard to feel like the bad guy, but this is actually healthier for everyone. If you think about the people who are most compassionate and healthy, I will bet that they are also the same people who have healthier boundaries, right?

Now, you can be one of them!


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