How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty
We all know that one person who can be counted on to sign up for every project. She’s the one who says yes to each favor, errand, or committee. Mentioning her name usually brings comments like, “I don’t know how she does it.”
Do you know that person? Is she you?
If you are that person who never says no, then hats off to you – unless you wish you could.
If you always say yes because saying no makes you feel guilty, it’s time to consider how much extra stress you’re putting yourself through. You’re taking on everybody else’s priorities while putting yourself last… and that’s not a good combination.
No matter how much you enjoy being invaluable, in order to honor your truest self — and have the energy to show up as her every day — you need to learn to say no to tasks and requests that just don’t fill you up.
Saying no takes practice, but here are some steps you can take, starting today, to help you find more time for yourself and feel a lot less stress.
Admit that there are limits to what you can do
There are only 24 hours in the day, and you need to eat and sleep too. When you’re asked to do something, stop and think about what you already have on your plate. Add up the time and energy that all those things will take before saying yes. There’s a good chance that a big part of your stress is caused by committing to more things than you are physically or emotionally capable of doing.
Suggest an alternative to you
It’s easy to feel guilty for saying no, especially when people have come to rely on you as the person who always says yes. Offer some help with your rejection of their request by suggesting somebody else who can help, or a different way of handling the situation.
When you say you’re sorry for saying no, you give both yourself and the person you’re saying no to the sense that you’ve done something wrong… which is simply untrue. You are allowed to say no, and you don’t need to apologize or even offer an explanation. Thank them for the opportunity, then just say no and let it go.
Take a deep dive into why ‘no’ is so hard for you
Are you afraid that people will stop liking you? Do you feel a need to have people depend on you? Understanding what has driven you to become everyone’s go-to person is the first step in stopping the behavior that is robbing you of free time and “me” time.
Practice your opt-out answer
“No” is a complete sentence.
But until you're comfortable with that, you may want to take the time to come up with how you are going to say no, and then practice saying it. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be… and the more time you’ll get back.
Is it easy for you to say no to things that don't fit in your life? Let me know in the comments below!
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