When we can learn to use the word “no” and understand it as a complete sentence, this becomes the anchor for everything “yes” in our lives.
“No” is all about creating personal boundaries for us to focus on the things that make the most impact and the most sense.
Often times just saying “no” without following that with a “why” may feel blunt and even rude. Most of the time we feel a need to follow up our “no” with a “because I have another thing I need to do” or “no I cant, because my dog has to go get their teeth polished”. We feel that we need to continue to tell the why, behind our no. The space that the word leaves is very apparent, and learning to say “no” and allowing that to be enough can be very freeing.
When we do feel harsh that saying “no is a complete sentence” we can use courage to be honest and vulnerable. When we are pushed for a reason behind our “no” being honest is the best answer every time. Using sentences that are real can only help you in the long run, and build trust to the one asking things of you, “I am working to give my all to this project and unable to take on another commitment.” This will very rarely evoke a challenge from most people.
Here are 3 different degrees of departure of saying the word “no” by Shelly Tygielski:
1. One degree of departure from the word “no” would be saying “I can’t.”
2. Two degrees of departure would be saying, “I’ll get back to you” and buying yourself enough time to give yourself a pep talk so that you can politely decline. Buying time is one of the greatest techniques in all negotiations and decision making. I have messed this up so many times, by reacting and trying to please the other person instead of taking care of myself and creating boundaries.
3. Three degrees of departure would be saying yes to something else by creating alternatives, kind of like a “reverse-Jedi mind trick.” For example, someone asks to purchase drinks for a large gathering. I found myself hard-pressed to say “no” to this pushy leader, so I said, “I can take care of the volunteers that night!” This is a shift in the response from a negative one (something you can’t or won’t do) to something positive (something you can or are willing to do).
Learning to say “no” isn’t something we only need to do with other people, it’s something we need to learn to say to ourselves. (Chances are, we are truly the worst offender of all!) Saying “no” to yourself means creating personal boundaries that will ultimately contribute to our own well-being over time. Here are some ways to say “no” to ourselves:
* Saying “no” to that news app that sends multiple notifications a day
* Saying “no” to checking our phone multiple times an hour.
* Saying “no” to getting on our phones first thing in the morning.
* Saying “no” to eating that amazing, deliteful, beautiful cupcake (enter that food that we can’t resist that we are usually only craving because of our emotions)
* Saying “no” to another drink out with friends (again most likely emotions are carrying into this decision)
* Saying “no” to turning on the Tv, to just sit in silence.
* Saying “no” to every single troll on your social media feed because you recognize that you are not going to change their minds and that you are simply depleting your own energy.
Saying “no” to ourselves often goes hand in hand with becoming aware of the times during the day when we are acting on automatic pilot—reacting instead of choosing!
Take a breath to consider what you are saying “yes” to? There is so much power in the pause.
Ask yourself, “Is my heart in this? Am I doing it for the right reasons (what is my motivator)? Can I let this go and make room for something that matters more?”
In practicing to choose our “yeses”, we begin to filter out the things that matter least in exchange for the things that matter most.
At some point, we just might realize that it’s not always “something” that matters more. It’s taking the time to acknowledge, “I matter, too.”