Do you have a problem saying no to others? Maybe you didn’t realize that this was an issue, but it’s essential to identify. Self-care is an integral part of keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy, yet few dare to stand up for themselves when asked to do something that puts them out.
Assume you work a forty-hour week job, have three children and a spouse, and have the kids in extracurricular activities. You’re always on the road, and moments to yourself are precious and few. Now, your mother calls and asks if you can take her to the doctor at 11 am tomorrow, which means you must call off work.
You want to help your mom, as she is your parent, but it will cause significant issues. See, your mom doesn’t know that you won’t get paid if you call off again, as you’ve used all your time. Additionally, you will receive a write-up for an unexcused absence without a doctor’s excuse.
Even though it’s costing you dearly, you say you will take her. Why didn’t she call your other sibling, who works from home, and doesn’t have such a hectic schedule? No, she chooses you, and now it’s going to put your job in jeopardy.
Why didn’t you say no? Some reasons can include these feelings:
- You don’t know how
- You’re afraid of disappointing her
- You feel guilt for all she does for you
- You haven’t been spending much time with her because of your schedule.
Do You Suffer from a Lack of Setting Boundaries?
According to Psychology Today, one of the main reasons people have trouble saying no is that they lack limits. Some people have no issue standing up for themselves, as refusing a task feels liberating. What about those who fear they will disappoint or hurt someone they care about deeply?
If you’re one of the people who feel intimidated or uncomfortable telling others no, then you need to establish boundaries. When you don’t have borders to protect you, you jeopardize your health and wellbeing. Consider a limit you set with your spouse that no friends or family can come to your home unannounced.
What do you do if your sister shows up at your door without calling first? You don’t answer as she’s violated a rule you’ve made to keep the peace. While this may be hard for you, she knows that you like to run around in a t-shirt or pajamas, making you uncomfortable.
Additionally, if she knows your preferences and still defies a boundary you set, then the outcome shouldn’t be a surprise. You’re not saying no to visitors, but you’re saying that everyone must call to allow you time to make the house and yourself presentable.
Now keep in mind that limitations need to be flexible at times, such as if she drove six hours to get there and her hotel room wasn’t ready. However, you’re setting such limits because you’re protecting yourself, which is the best kind of self-love where you know your limitations.
Consider This Example of Saying No in Action
You’ve worked overtime for the past month, and you’re so exhausted you feel like you could sleep for a week. The manager called on you to work over again, but you’re frustrated as you know there are people in your department who haven’t worked one extra shift.
You want to be a team player, and you want to be an employee that your boss can depend on, but you’re exhausted. You already had plans for this weekend, and part of it involved resting. This is an instance where you must choose yourself over your boss’s extra money and guilt.
Let management know that you can’t keep working these hours, and others can take their turn. To help matters, tell them that you will be willing to work over one weekend a month, but you can’t do anything more than this maximum. By setting a firm boundary, you’re letting them know your limits.
Saying no becomes easier when you have these restrictions in place, as someone already knows your limitations and shouldn’t cross them. If you let people walk all over the guidelines you’ve set, then there’s no sense in having them. These little self-rules allow you to know your limits and not let anyone else push you around.
Saying No with Tact
Do you know how to say no to people? Why is this two-letter word so brutal? Some people get so overwhelmed by this simple word that they will develop anxiety or panic attacks.
There’s no need to be all worked up when you’re standing up for yourself. It would help if you found a way to say no that feels natural to you, and you can do it with kindness. One trick many utilize is to use positive comments and then stick that negative one somewhere in the middle.
For instance, your in-laws want you to spend Christmas day at their house, but you always spend Christmas eve with them and Christmas day with your parents. You get a call from your father-in-law, who wants to confirm the change. You feel guilt, anger and don’t want to make changes that affect more than just your in-laws.
So, you start by telling your father-in-law how much you enjoy spending the holidays at their house each year, and then you tell them that you will need to continue to do it as planned on Christmas day. By using something positive before the negative, you have a better chance of not offending him. Saying no to someone doesn’t have to be something huge that you need to think long and hard over.
Remember, your self-care and mental wellbeing come first. Don’t let people walk all over you and change your plans when it’s an inconvenience. You need to take care of yourself, as no one else will put as much effort into your mental wellbeing as you.
Self-Care Aspects You Must Consider
You need to understand why it’s so important to tell someone no. The Parent Teacher’s Association called and asked if you could make all the food for the next meeting. You did it last year when you were out of a job, so it wasn’t such a big deal to put in the extra time.