Saying, “No.” It took me YEARS to realize that “No.” is a sentence!! Even then I rarely if ever used it to set boundaries!!
Even when I did try to use it, I felt guilty & usually caved in to whoever wanted me to do something!!
I tried to “just say no” to my Mom for 66years!! Unsuccessfully, I might add!! She intimidated the heck out of me!! Do you have someone who is asking you to do something that either you do NOT want to do or that you don’t have TIME to do??
Come on, be honest….we ALL do!! A friend asks you to go with her to a concert. You hate the band that is playing. You now do one of three things:
- You lie & say you are doing something else. This is usually a lengthy explanation as to what you have to do & why it is so much more important than your friend’s concert!! This one makes you miserable!! You get stressed out that you will get caught in the lie!! And…..you usually do!!
- You say yes, & go to the concert with your friend. you sit in the concert wishing you were ANYWHERE but there!! You become irritable & almost pick a fight so you have an excuse to leave. Or maybe you have made arrangements with someone else to call you & give you an excuse to leave. This one takes preplanning & nerves of steel!! The excuse has to be a rational one & one that she won’t find out about!! This one often comes back to bite you in the behind!!
- You say no. This one is RARELY used because it takes strength & openness, which is something difficult for us to do!! This one sets boundaries & leaves you vulnerable. What if the friend hates me?? What if she gets mad & then blabs all about it on FaceBook or on Periscope??
As children, we are not taught to gracefully & effectively set boundaries. We seldom see or hear our parents using the sentence. And if WE try to use it we are chastised!! Throughout our lives, we receive negative responses & actions if we say “no”. We don’t get the positive feedback we need to be able to set appropriate boundaries!!
As women (and some men), we make excuses & try to explain why we are saying “no”, all the time!!
- We don’t want to hurt their feelings…..
- We are afraid they won’t understand us & what we say will be taken the wrong way…..
- We feel guilty & feel we have to have this big excuse as to why we are saying “no”…..
Since “No.” is a complete sentence, we don’t need to explain!! Usually, going into a lengthy explanation only makes matters worse & we feel worse!!
Remember in past blog posts & in some of my videos I try to remind you that you do NOT control what someone else thinks or feels or says about you, but this is where it gets sticky!! When you make excuses & minimize your strength, you are actually taking on responsibility for their reaction…..you can NOT do that!!
Even now, with Mom dead, I still hear her voice in my head & feel guilty at times!! It is not easy to gain your voice & your courage & to be able to set boundaries & say, “No.” We have to stop devaluing ourselves by allowing others to take our control away!! Really, if your answer is “No”, then NO explanation is needed!!
How they feel about us saying, “No”, is on them!!
We have to find our voice, own who we are & only take responsibility for what WE CAN control!!
This is a topic I journal on very frequently!! I have a hard time saying “No”. I find myself making excuses & then I am sorry I did not stand up for myself. BUT, with practice & resolve, this is now becoming a thing of the past for me!!
Now, when faced with this dilemma, I either say, “No, I would rather not.” or I say, “No, I have a previous commitment.”, depending on which is true!! Setting boundaries with other people is hard, & we aren’t taught how to do it!! So we have to learn by trial & error!!