Setting boundaries and saying ‘no’ is a hard habit to break.
Where are my fellow ‘people pleasers’ out there?! Setting limits whether it’s with ourselves, at work, or with our loved ones is something that sounds great, and we often aspire to do. And, it can be as hard as heck. The good news is that it is possible!
This has been our recent focus in the Permission to Be – a women’s group coaching program that I host. And a few things we have become aware of:
You aren’t alone, not even close.
Saying yes to everyone else’s needs can drain your energy if you don’t say to yourself too!
There are so many reasons why we might feel obligated to say yes – social conditioning; receiving positive feedback or love when we say yes (people like us); expectations of family/work; habits formed….
Or, perhaps we say yes out of our fears – we don’t want to be excluded, we don’t want others to be mad at us, we don’t want to miss out, we don’t want to be seen as ungrateful, or rude, or selfish, or not a team player.
Think about it - saying ‘No’ has been normalized as a bad thing. As children, we were told saying no was impolite and uncooperative. For much of our lives, our opinions and thoughts were often squashed because of our young age…that we were too young to really know. As teens it didn’t get much better, we are told to do as our parents say and what authority figures tell us.
Enter good girl & boy rule followers, who say yes. Because we are praised and celebrated for being agreeable, cooperative and so helpful. This isn’t out of ill will or maliciousness – it is a habit – passed down through generations, socially acceptable.
So – during the holidays and as we enter this new year – When someone asks a request of our time, energy, focus, or something else of us…. We first need to decide if we want to.
What is the cost of saying yes?
What is the cost of saying no?
Why do I want to say yes?
Does a yes honor my needs, voice, and goals?
If you determine it’s going to cost you too much, or isn’t aligned with your values and you want to say No. Guess what? You can say no. Yep, that's right.
It’s a process especially if we aren’t used to doing it. However, it’s possible to be done with grace and it can get more comfortable. And it helps to come up with your phrase and practice it ahead of time. A couple of tips:
“No” is a full sentence.
Thanks for thinking of me, but it’s a no, as I need to pass this time around.
I appreciate the invite; however, I am already committed during that time.
And when you do…. Imagine how you would feel and what would be possible for you! With that extra time, energy, and focus.
If you would like some support with making this happen – let’s chat.