Once we start saying “yes” to life, we can accidentally take on too many responsibilities. We feel more capable than we have in a long time and are happy to be of service to others. Having a hard time saying no usually stems from some deeper unforeseen issues. For most, a fear of rejection keeps them saying “yes” to more than they can handle. For others, it might be a matter of codependency, or wrapping their identity up in what another person thinks of them. Those with a martyr complex will feel they have to sacrifice themselves and take on more responsibilities.
Suggestions For Harnessing The Power Of “No”
- First, take a spiritual step by tuning into your body. Often, our bodies tell us more than our minds are able to recognize. Emotions live in our body, especially stress and fear. If something isn’t settling right with you, you’re likely to feel it in your neck, back, chest, and stomach. Your stomach will tie in knots, your back or neck might be tight and your breathing will feel restricted. Simply put, saying “yes” shouldn’t come with so much tension. Once you notice your body-feelings you might be able to notice your mind or heart feelings.
- Second, articulate in your mind what it is that needs to be communicated. Though “no” is a two letter sentence, sometimes adding an explanation can help someone understand your position. Understanding is important for an exchange of compassion as well as setting boundaries.
- Third, communicate with love. Saying “no” isn’t about rejecting someone making a request of you but the request itself. Be specific about what it is you cannot take on or participate in. Make sure to tell them how much you care for them. You’ll let them know they still matter to you but that you also need to care for yourself in a healthy way at this time.
- Lastly, remember to tell yourself that it is okay to say “no”. Let go of the guilt of not saying “yes” by reminding yourself you still need time too. You cannot give all the time. You need periods of self-care, quiet, and calm, to replenish your system.