Do you find your days filled with to do lists a mile long? This used to be me. I would always have new things on my list but never really have the time to get it all done and forget the term relax because it would never happen. I finally realized I needed to change after I started missing events because I just couldn’t keep track of it all. I was organized for a while but eventually it all fell through and I constantly felt like a mess. This is when I started to learn it was ok to say, “NO!” I know I’m not alone here which is why I wanted to share with you the three things I have learned about saying no!
You Don’t Have To Say Yes
This was a big one for me, when you’re asked to do something you don’t have to say yes. I know this sounds so simple and when I talk about it I have people who can’t believe I never considered this as an option but friends I didn’t. I would get invitations or projects and I would just add them to the list. This goes for my personal life and my job. Learning to say no was one of the biggest things I’ve learned along this journey I’m on!
I heard Greg McKweon say when you’re presented with something if your initial reaction isn’t “hell yes” then it’s a no. Hearing this was so eye opening. I actually get to say no to things I do not want to do. Now there is obviously a line here right, I can’t wake up in the morning and decide I’d rather not go to work and call them and say well I read this book and it said… I mean I wish I could but I can’t. In this instance I am talking about events or tasks you add to your calendar, birthday parties, dinners out, PTA bake sales, you get the idea.
You don’t have to say yes to something just because it was presented to you or because you feel like the person asking will feel bad if you say no. It is not your job to make everyone happy but it is your job to take care of yourself and when you are completely stressed out and overwhelmed from taking on too much, you aren’t taking care of yourself!
You Are In Control Of Your Schedule
There is nothing on your calendar that you didn’t allow to be there. Let that one sink it! I am in a really hard season. My husband is working away from home often and for some reason my boys and I keep getting sick. They both play baseball and have soccer and dance and jiu jitsu and the schedule is completely crazy. I probably reference this point at least once a day but I also know I allowed it to be this way. I allowed my evenings to be a little chaotic for a few weeks so my kids could play baseball. This doesn’t make it any easier but recognizing that I allowed it to be this way definitely puts things into perspective. I can tell myself now that yes this is a stressful few weeks but it will be worth it and I can also plan accordingly!
If you are constantly adding too much to your schedule you need to stop and make this realization. Yes you are completely overwhelmed but you also let it get this way. If it is becoming too much go back and reread the first part again about saying no!
You don’t have to turn saying “no” into an argument, you can totally be polite but still decline the event or project. This is really a big one. When I have conversations with friends about this topic, oftentimes I hear they don’t want to say no because they don’t like confrontation or they don’t want to get into an argument. But saying “no” doesn’t have to be a fight.
Since this was such a big part of why I heard people weren’t saying “no” I wanted to share with you some of my go to phrases I use when I am declining something. You can totally use them!
Wow that sounds like a great opportunity but my plate is really full and I can’t take on one more thing right now
One more yes would end up being a no to some family time and I can’t do that right now
This is a really busy time for me right now but maybe we could talk about it again in a few weeks
I’m already pretty overwhelmed and really can’t take on anything new
These are just nice phrases I use to respectfully decline. This doesn’t mean the person on the other end will like my response but remember it is not your job to make everyone happy. It is ok if they don’t love your response or that if they aren’t happy you aren’t doing a job for them. Your job is to make yourself happy and take care of yourself and your family!
Listen, I totally get it, saying no is hard. Sometimes it seems just plain old easier to just say yes to things but your mental health and overall health are more important and being completely overwhelmed and stressed every single day is not healthy! Learning to say no has been such an eye opening positive experience for me and I hope it will have the same impact for you!