The power packed two-letter word that changes lives forever!
I was a newly-divorced single mom, working a full-time job as a secretary to the vice president of First Security Bank. I got by in my life up to that point by being a big time “people pleaser.”
When I was asked to do or be involved in anything, at work or personally, the answer was always, "Yes!" Not because I wanted to, not because I saw it was the best thing for my career, me, or my daughter at the time; I said yes simply because I was asked!
As the to-do’s and responsibilities began to pile up, my confidence and self-esteem continued in a downward spiral.
I didn’t feel successful at anything because I was dropping balls left and right!
Sadly, I was constantly saying to myself, “I can’t be successful, I am not good enough! I can’t be a good mom, I am not good enough! I can’t figure this life thing out, I am not good enough!” …day after day…
And then one evening after work, shit hit the fan!
I left work late (because I had over-committed and was behind on my deadlines) and was rushing to pick my daughter up from the babysitter on time, not late as usual.
I worked downtown and the babysitter was a good 30 minutes away. Luckily, I still had 45 minutes until pick up time.
All at once, I found myself in a brain fog! I literally could not find the onramp to the freeway.
I drove around the city and became more and more panicked as minutes ticked by, and I was not finding myself any closer to picking up my daughter than when I left work…10 minutes before, then 15, then 20…then 45!
I finally had to pull to the side of the road and cry buckets of tears of frustration. Thankfully I calmed myself down enough to remember how to get on the “GD” freeway!
When I arrived at the sitter's house, more than an hour and a half late, my daughter was not there!
The sitter had called my mom to come and pick her up. This was before cell phones, so the sitter had no idea what had happened to me and called my emergency contact (my mom).
I felt embarrassed, I felt like a bad mom, I felt like a failure, I felt ashamed!
It was in that moment that I knew I needed to make some changes. I could not continue down the self-destructive path I was living.
I needed to rediscover myself, gain clarity about my purpose, and what I wanted to create in my life. I needed to acquire a new perspective and some skills that I so lacked…thus began my personal growth journey.
One of the skills that helped me begin to turn my life around was learning the power of saying “NO.”
"NO" gave me back some of the inner strength I so lacked and helped me begin the practice of honoring and choosing myself first, which began to change everything!
So many of us live our lives as “yes” people.
We don’t want to rock the boat so we go along, doing things out of a sense of obligation or just afraid to say no to someone.
Unfortunately, saying “yes” all the time can lead to exhaustion and stress. Especially when you are going through some major life changes.
We pile our plates so high that there isn’t any time or space left for ourselves. Sound familiar? We may also fear the feeling of regret or think we might be missing out on some of the things we turn down. This same fear pushes us to commit to things we aren’t completely sure of.
Heck, most of us don’t even know that pausing for a moment to consider a request is possible…let alone necessary for our personal well-being.
Take it from me, saying no can feel very strange if you’ve lived your life so far pleasing everyone around you. But here’s the thing you MUST KNOW - there are so many positive aspects of practicing the skill of saying no. I promise, it will change your life.
Saying NO is the ultimate experience of self-love. A self-demonstration that you indeed do value yourself, your time, and your life enough to say no.
This gives you the ability to say yes to the things that really matter to you.
NO also helps you clearly communicate to others what it is that you want, which is something you’ll find (much to your surprise) people actually appreciate!
People want the REAL you! If they don’t, you won’t want them around anyway.
To help you get started with this powerful two letter word, here are some things to help you out when saying NO:
- Avoid details: You don’t owe everyone an explanation! When you start to make excuses or give reasons for saying no you open yourself up to the possibility of manipulation by well-meaning people in your life. They will try to talk you into changing your mind.
- Avoid saying “maybe” or “possibly” to soften the blow: If your answer is honestly no, just say no!
- Offer an alternative (but, only if you have one): It might sound like, “No thank you, I can’t take this on right now, would it work if we talk about it again next week?"
- Be true to yourself and what YOU want: I can’t stress this enough. This builds so much self-confidence and trust…yes, I said trust. I have a saying:
I challenge you to try out saying NO for a week and watch how your anxiety and frustration melts away. All at once, you’ll experience space and permission to live the life that matters to you.
Stop living your life per everyone else’s agenda! Value yourself and what you truly desire out of life more than this!