One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn on my self-care journey is how to say no.
I was recently approached by a group of friends and asked to be in charge of a fundraiser at the church my husband, and I recently started going to. This request triggered all kinds of thoughts.
“How can I say no when our church badly needs some additional money?”
“Everyone will be disappointed if I say no.”
“My friends will be pissed and won’t want to hang out with me anymore.”
I knew I could make the event successful if I wanted to. But…I (really, really, really) DIDN’T want to. So, I graciously, but politely said I couldn’t take on any additional projects right now.
And guess what? The world did not stop spinning, nor did I lose any friends!
By the time we get to midlife, most of us are experts at fielding requests for help and juggling multiple projects. But somewhere in the menopause transition, we lose the desire to people-please. Dropping estrogen levels bring the bonus of no longer feeling like the world is ours to save. This means we need to become a Ninja of NO.
If you’re ready to stop saying yes and create room in your life for what really matters in 2017, let this be your how-to guide.
1. Start small. Set a goal of saying no once a day. “No, I would not like to give you my email address so you can send me coupons.”
2. Learn the language of “No.” Use phrases such as “Thanks for asking me, but I’m afraid it’s not convenient right now” or “Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t help this evening.”
3. Buy yourself some time if you need to. Interrupt the ‘yes’ cycle, using phrases like “I’ll get back to you,” then consider your options. Having time to think a through a request without pressure will give you the ability to say no with greater confidence. Consider a compromise. Only do this if you WANT to agree with the request, but have limited time or ability to do so.
4. Don’t compromise if you really want or need to say no. Separate refusal from rejection. Remember you’re turning down a request, not a person. People usually will understand that it is your right to say no, just as it is their right to ask the favor. If the person interprets your “no” as rejection, that’s their stuff, not yours.
5. Keep your response simple. If you want to say no, be firm, direct and don’t overexplain.
6. Live by Cheryl Richardson’s mantra, “If it’s not an absolute yes, it’s a no.” (this is my personal favorite). This means you have to know what your priorities are. Choose 3 or 4 things that matter most (family, job, self-care, elderly parents, etc.). Any requests that don’t align with your current priorities are a NO. Using this practice saves tons of mental and physical energy.
Like any other skill, saying NO gets easier the more you do it. Challenge yourself this week. If you normally say yes to everything, see #1. Notice how you feel and what comes up. You’re likely to find there’s minimal impact on the person you say no to…but the feeling of freedom YOU’LL have will be huge.
Happy New Year!
Visit Dr. Anna’s website at www.drannagarrett.com.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim parts of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Find out more about working with her at http://www.drannagarrett.com/work-with-me/.