This past week I’ve found myself crammed for time. Between dealing with finals for graduate school, working on my own business projects, doing work for other people, preparing to spend a month back home and dealing with some relational and emotional issues, it’s been fairly stressful.
Yet, despite everything that I had to do, that certainly didn’t discourage me from remaining optimistic and, generally, confident about getting everything done. So I agreed to help someone else on one of their own business projects for some extra cash.
One day, during this crammed week I came in to do this work with this hope to hurry up and get this work done so that I could focus on all of my other obligations.
One hour of work quickly turn into two hours and I was beginning to find myself restless, anxious, and hoping to get to work on other things. At that very moment I was instructed to work even more – and I simply went along with it.
Moments later I quickly realized that I just made an extremely common people pleaser mistake: I ignored my feelings, said “yes” when I wanted to say “no”, and had begun to feel resentful. This is the exact place that we want to avoid getting to!
For us people pleasers, many of us find ourselves saying “yes” while deep down inside we are screaming “no”. We just don’t want to tell the other person for fear of disappointing them.
The key to confidently knowing when it’s really time to say “no” is to really be in-tune with your own emotions.
Our emotions can be a very accurate gauge in deciphering whether we should do something or not. So in that very moment when we start to feel drained or angry because the other person is telling us to do something, that is the time to say “no”.
Don’t put it off. Don’t think about it. Don’t allow yourself to build up anger and resentment of the other person. Simply just say “no” in the exact moment when you recognize that you’re emotionally worn out and overextending yourself.
It’s as simple as that.
And you know the irony of it all? Many of us avoid saying “no” because we fear that we will disappoint the other person. But I have a quick reality check for you: More often than not, the other person will accept and respect your request. They won’t be disappointed because they respect you as a person.
If there is a circumstance that arises where the person doesn’t respect your request for whatever reason, then it’s a sign of toxic behavior. You can learn more about what toxic behavior is by checking out my article Toxic Behavior Warning Signs. If you say no and the other person tries to use their toxic behavior to emotionally manipulate or guilt trip you, then check out my article How to Survive a Guilt Trip.
Nobody else has more power over us than ourselves. We are in control. We are responsible and in charge over what happens in our own lives. We just need to honor and be true to our own emotions 100%. Nobody else can or should do that for us.
Set the boundary and be true and honest with yourself. You’ll feel more balanced, fulfilled, and happy in the long run.
Start Confidently Saying “No”!
Get out a journal and think of a time when you said “yes” when you know you should’ve said “no”. Write down any thoughts about that experience that come to your mind. What was the situation? Who was involved? Why do you think it was difficult for you to say “no”?
Once you have a fairly good recollection of the situation, then answer the following questions for yourself: How did I feel after saying “yes” when I wanted to say “no”? How did I feel toward the other people involved? If I could do it over again, at what point should I have said “no”?