If you met me in person and I told you I once had trouble saying no to people, you probably wouldn’t believe me. Sure, I’m heavily tattooed, and I look like I have an aura of sass around my naturally blonde head. But long ago, I was the pushover people-pleaser type. I was the little girl who would bend over backward to hopefully get the approval of others. But you know what? It didn’t work.
Pleasing others before you try to please yourself is a recipe for disaster. And you know what comes first when it comes to people-pleasing and pushover-ism? Saying “yes” to something when you really, really just wanted to say no. And not only this, but by saying “yes” too often, you over-commit yourself and drain precious energy with things that ultimately don’t matter or won’t fulfill you.
Here are 4 important ways the power of saying no will change your life.
More Me Time
When you learn the power of saying no, and use it sparingly as a useful weapon to achieve a greater purpose, you’ll have more time to do things for you. Putting your needs on the back burner for too long can lead to a complete breakdown (hands up, I know you’ve been there, too!), and it’s excruciatingly detrimental to your psyche.
Learn when to say “yes” to something where your presence will be accepted and valued, and decline offers in which you really won’t gain anything from being there. Experiences should be quality and not quantity, and when you learn to decline engagements that you know you would have dreaded going to anyway, you’ll feel ultimately rewarded by personal growth and gain.
No, That’s Not For Me
I am not the kind of person to diss anyone’s likes and interests. In the wise words of Kacey Musgraves, “You can’t be everybody’s cup of tea.” I think I am not the first mom who has gotten an awkward invite via social media or a text from a “friend” hoping to invite me to their MLM essential oils/skin care/business endeavor party. No.Thank.You. I do not feel the need to “help” these people who I hardly hear from, and nor should you!
If something isn’t up your alley, there’s no reason to feel strangely guilty or obligated to commit to something that simply isn’t you. Serving their purpose will sacrifice your own purpose, and the power of saying no will go a long way with this one. This also applies to opportunities where you don’t feel comfortable and outings that don’t coincide with your beliefs/personal interests.
No, I Cannot Help You–Yet Again
We all know these types of people. The people who only ring you whenever they want or need something. It’s never just to see how you’re doing/feeling/etc. For myself, my time is very precious and extremely limited for others. I say this because I work full-time, and I have two special needs children. I am not a self-righteous jerk, I just don’t have the time to bend over backward for people who only want me when they want something.
At first, these people may do this every so often, but when it becomes a habit (and trust me, it will) you must either: A. cut the cord entirely, or B. establish clear boundaries that adhere to your time restrictions/schedule. For example, “Yes, I can help you out. I am free either Tuesday or Thursday to do so.” Do not allow them to sucker you in at a time and day that works best for them. They are soliciting you for help because they need it, the ball is in your court here. Establishing boundaries and rules helps you to value yourself first and foremost.
No, I Will Not Surrender My Precious Energy And Mental Clarity To An “Energy Vampire”
Ah, the energy vampire. If you’ve never heard this term before, please feel free to steal it and use it as your own. It’s ultimately the best term for these people (and my lovely sister-in-law came up with it so she gets all the credit here!). These are the types of people in your life whose universe only revolves around them. Something is always “wrong,” they’re always having yet another “bad day,” and their conversations suck the life out of you.
Not sure if you have one of these people in your life? Well, is there a person that will call you, and when you see their name on your phone, you hesitate to answer because you “just can’t” right now? Ding, ding–that’s the energy vampire in your life. I have a few of these, and we’re related, so it’s not like I can ghost on them for eternity. But I’ve learned to set boundaries so I don’t get sucked into these aurus of energy suckdom. Reason being? One call or text session with them can suck your pleasant mood away, drain your energy, or even throw an ugly wrench into your entire day. If you must maintain communication with the energy vampire(s) in your life, do so on your terms.
A simple suggestion that I recommend is to only talk to these people when you have time. Simply respond with, “I will call you back later, I’m busy at the moment.” This will satisfy their mind by letting them know that you have acknowledged them but also place importance on the fact that you are busy, and now is not a good time.
I am by no means an expert or a psychologist, and all of these points and suggestions are simply my own methods that have proven effective for taking my life back on my terms with the power of saying no. However, there is a powerful science behind the power of saying no and applying it to your everyday life. I was fortunate to discover this a few years ago and made it a New Year’s resolution. I decided to stick to it, and I’ve felt a sense of self-empowerment and personal gain ever since.
Rest-assured, if you are proactive about taking these suggestions into your own life, they can do the same for you. It might ruffle a few feathers and turn a few heads when you first start flexing those “no’s”, but you’ll feel great once you start to value your time, yourself, and your precious energy.