The power of 'No'.
By Amy Crawford
The smallest of words, yet it holds a lot of power. How do you feel when you say 'no'?
For many of us, we spend our years holding the status of the 'yes man'. We do it almost proudly, as if it's a mark of our ability, a reflection of our positivity.
But to what end?
For some, they feel the perpetual 'yes, of course I can' grants opportunities, opens doors (rather than shutting them firmly closed), leads to adventures and new experiences and new people to be met. For others, YES means they are merely stretching themselves too thin.
Where do you lie?
If you fall into the latter, let us ask ourselves why. Do you feel the guilt of failing to please? Do you worry that whomever is asking will think less of you if you simply don't have the time/means/energy/inclination to complete the task? Perhaps you dislike the perceived discomfort that comes with a negative response?
Whatever the case, the ability to say no can be empowering. It can also dramatically benefit your health. It's ok to do what is best for you, and you know what, sometimes that means putting your foot down, gently.
These days I've learnt how vital it is to put my health first, above and beyond anything else. I've become very in tune with my energy and how much activity I can handle in any given week, without allowing myself to feel rattled and worn out. I've gone so far as setting some personal activity 'rules' for myself, rules that dictate how many evenings I'll go out, that ensure sufficient down time of a weekend. To that end, I don't question whether it's ok to say no - because I can only do so much.
Do you struggle with saying no?
Why not empower yourself with a few phrases that appear less harsh, they may sit better with you to start. 'Not right now', 'I don't think I can make that happen', 'Unfortunately I don't have time right now' - these are all softer ways of saying no.
I see this struggle quite a lot in my CTC practice. Essentially, when you break it down, the underlying fear that we begin to discuss is the feeling of not being good enough, a feeling that leaves us wanting to please others, often at the detriment of ourselves. It's a common thread, and one that can be so effectively freed.
Have a think about it. Why do you feel you have such trouble saying no?