Are you a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to say “no” to anyone? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything going on in your life right now? Do you have a lot on your plate? In this post, I’m going to teach you the art of saying “no” and being okay with it.
Why are you taking on so much?
We’re asked to homeschool our kids due to covid-19, continue to work at our jobs, and still find time to help others who may be in need. It’s easy to get caught up in the thought “I’m suppose to say yes”, we get blinded by what our bodies actually need. Let’s discuss for a minute what your body needs to thrive day by day, so we can make decisions around those things.
To feel your absolute best, a good nights sleep is a must. It’s okay to turn down a night out with the girls (or boys) if you know you can’t sleep in the next morning. Lack of sleep affects everythign from your mood to your focus. Why might you feel bad for turning down friends who wanna hang out late into the night? Let’s examine this for a second because I know you know it’s okay to turn them down, but let’s discover why you don’t want to.
Relationships are important. I get it. We all want that feeling of being a part of a village that loves and accepts us. But at what expense will we go to be included? You have a fear of missing out or possibly never being invited again if you turn them down. Maybe you’re thinking “they’ll think I don’t want to hang out with them, so I’d better go when they invite me.” Notice how we try to control what others might be thinking of us. We do this all the time. It’s one of the main reasons my clients say they are “Stuck” in their life. They care way too much about what others are thinking.
I learned a valuable piece of information a long time ago as I was getting coached. It has served me well for years. Here it is…What other people think of you is none of your business. It’s time to stay in your own business. It’s time to say no to late nights in order to really focus on our health as a priority. Options you could consider as a way to connect with friends are lunch dates, breakfast dates, or outings that end by 9pm at the latest. Simply excuse yourself and head home. And stop worrying about what others will think of you if you leave early.
Hydration & Healthy Foods
Your body also needs good hydration every single day, and a diet plentiful with greens. Did you know it’s okay to say no to unhealthy foods at parties or gatherings? You might have several thoughts here like “They’ll think I’m rude if I don’t eat the food they fixed,” or “They’ll think I’m weird because of my dietary restrictions. I want to fit in, so I’ll just eat what everyone else is eating.” “They’ll think I’m snobby or better than them if I choose not to eat the unhealthy foods they’re cooking up or ordering.” When we have thoughts like this, guess who’s business we’re meddling in? You guessed it…THEIRS! Again, let’s let others own their own thoughts, and we’ll own ours.
It’s also likely that you know that the party foods are bad for you, but gosh darn it, you just want to eat it anyways. You get a bit rebellious towards your own healthy diet. The best advice I have for your rebellious toddler brain is, you can feel good momentarily and eat the junk food, or you can feel really good later when you’re body isn’t reaping the consequences of eating the junky food and your jeans are thanking you for not having to do that jump maneuver you always do to get into them.
Eat quality healthy food and just say “NO” to the junk. It’s okay.
Saying “no” to service opportunities
Saying no when someone needs a babysitter or their house cleaned, is mainly a problem for people because it brings feelings of guilt. I typically only say “yes” to these opportunities if they are asked of me in advance, they aren’t conflicting with other plans I have going on, and if I genuinely want to help that person out. There is no sense in me saying “yes” grudgingly and all the while resenting myself for saying yes. Only you know how your time should be spent. That’s not up to others to decide for you or make you feel guilty.
Even if you choose to watch Netflix instead of babysit for your sister in law, I want you to know that this choice is perfectly okay. The trouble you will have, is the thoughts in your head. thoughts like “You should be more kind and help out more.” I like to remind myself that it’s okay to choose an easier road once in a while. It doesn’t mean I’ll always say no when called upon, but this time it does, and that’s okay.
You’re worthy and valuable if you decide to help others out or not. So don’t beat yourself up for passing on service opportunities. Only do them if you can fully get your heart into it. Trust me, the day will come when you can, and when you take it up, you’ll likely feel good inside. It’ll spur on another “yes” in the future. Sometimes it’s a “yes” and sometimes it’s a “no.” Don’t judge yourself or get into other people’s heads if you choose the latter. What other’s think of you is none of your business. Remember?
If it’s causing conflict of any kind, say no!
Did you know you can just drop out of things you’ve signed your kids up for? I know it sounds flaky, but it can be done. You don’t need to explain your reasons to anyone (unless you want to). I had my kids in Karate for almost a year. They loved it for the first month or two, but then they started complaining every single time I’d make them get their uniforms on and go to Karate. While they were fine usually once they got going, I hated the pushback every single time we went. I committed to about 9 months of karate even though we signed up for a year. I just didn’t want the conflict within myself and between my kids anymore. I had to give 3 months notice to get out, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
That doesn’t mean I don’t make my kids do hard things or do things they don’t like. Sometimes I’m willing to put up with the battle. But I want you to know that it’s okay to just let go of your kids needing to have a certain skill or talent. It’s okay to drop it for now and try again later. When you release control, it’s a gift to you as the parent.
My kids have tried many many things for short periods of time. Swimming, tennis, violin, ukelele, karate, Mui Thai, basketball, chess, pottery, cooking, manners and etiquette, and much much more. I find that short commitment activities work best for my family. Anything lasting more than 3 months is a long-term commitment in my house.
If it’s something they truly want to keep doing, I support it full on. If not, I’m perfectly fine letting go of them needing to be good at a particular thing. I don’t push anything on my kids at the expense of my mental health. This is how I’ve kept a pretty peaceful life for myself and my kids. I will also say here that I don’t let my kids do more than one sport or activity at a time. For my own sanity and theirs, we just focus on one thing weather it’s playing an instrument or martial arts. One thing. Each family is different in this regard, so find what works for you and know it’s okay to let go of expectation and control.
You can say “no” to social media and emails
Did you know you can decide not to respond to every email or even check social media? I can’t begin to tell you about the clients I’ve coached in the past that have a hard time with social media addiction. They always end up comparing themselves and feeling awful about their own lives, but they struggle giving it up. In their minds they think an important message from a family or friend will come through and if they’re not online, they’ll miss it.
You know what I say? So what! If someone really needs to talk to you, we have cell phone’s now-a-days. It’s a beautiful thing. People can text you within seconds. You don’t even need to be on social media. You don’t even need to be on there for business purposes. Did you know this. You can schedule posts right to your FB business page in advance, and never check it for the week. You could hire a virtual assistant to do all of that for you. Imagine letting go of the thought “I need to check social media daily.” I wonder how much freedom you’d gain? Imagine if you replaced that time not with Netflix or movie watching, but with meditation, prayer, and affirmations. Listening to uplifting podcasts while going for a nice long walk outside. Reading more books. Creating something. Imagine the personal growth you’d experience.
In regards to email…I have a few friends who have the email app on their phone with an icon in that email box stating how many unread emails they have. It’s in the thousands. For months and months, I couldn’t understand how they could see that icon there and not desire to clean it out. I like to have everything checked, done and cleared out. But one day I asked myself why. It was taking up way too much of my time. So I just stopped checking emails that I didn’t want to check. That was it. I gave up the expectation on myself that I needed to stay on top of that. A burden was lifted. Yes that numerical icon is there on my email but guess what? It doesn’t bother me one bit. It is what it is. Let it be.
You can let things be too. Choose to say “no” to social media and emails if you want to.
You can say “no” to that stack of books you’ve only ready half way through
This is a big one for me. I was listening to Jody Moore, my life coach, talk about it being okay not to finish books you’ve started. I was stunned! I mean why did I want to pick up those books in the first place if I’m not planning on finishing them? She said “What if you already got everything out of that book that you needed to?” You could choose to believe this and it’s totally okay. Ask yourself if you like your reasons for finishing those books. If you do, then let’s make a plan to read each one by the end of the year. If you’re just like “Meh” about finishing them right now, then be okay with that and don’t leave those things lying around. Return them to the library or put them back on the shelf. You’ll bring it out again when you’re really interested.
Same thought process goes for art projects and crafts. Put it away. Bring it out again when you’re really serious about finishing them. The time isn’t right now. You can say “no” to your brain on these things. It’s not important to finish them right now. They’ve sat this long, they can sit longer on a closet shelf or think about donating it to a young woman to finish up as a project.
When your children ask you for something
It’s probable that your teenagers will ask you if they can go to parties or dances or outings with friends. You might not have a good feeling about them going. It’s okay to say “no” and not need to give them a reason. I simply say “I love you, and it’s a no.” It’s also okay that they are mad at you for saying no. Let them feel whatever they need to feel and don’t try and fix it by giving them something (a treat) or worse, giving in and letting them go just to see them happy again. Kids need to experience disappointment. We try to prevent our kids from feeling any disappointment. Why do we do this? You know why? Because ultimately we as parents don’t want to experience negative emotion ourselves that we feel is inflicted by our children’s disappointment. (mind blown).
Disappointment is a gift to your kids. Not getting everything they want when they want it, is a gift. Don’t give in to that toddler when they are having the fit of the century over not getting a certain toy or candy bar at the grocery store. Let your kids have whatever emotions they feel they need to have, and don’t give in. It’s okay to say no to your kids. They will survive, and they’ll be all the better for it.
What about a grown up child and asking for money all the time? It’s okay to say “no.” This child is pulling on your heart strings as a parent and might even be manipulating you with stories of “I can’t pay my rent, ” Or “I don’t know how I’m going to feed myself or my dogs.” You’re likely to feel guilty if you don’t help them. Maybe they’re even on the verge of suicide.
Listen…As a parent, we can’t control the outcome of our kids’ lives. We like to think we can, and sometimes they even manipulate us into thinking we can, but we can’t. It’s up to them to make their own choices and learn how to become high functioning adults. We all need to learn this skill. Say “no” and learn to let go of needing to control the outcome of your child’s life by giving them everything they want or think they need.
Ultimately, the choice is yours how you want to support your child. Do what feels right in your gut without needing to manage their emotions.
When a spouse is demanding of your time and attention
It’s even okay to turn down your spouse. And you don’t have to do it in a cold hearted way either. Again, it might look something like this “Honey, I love you and it’s a “no” tonight. I need to get some sleep.” What happens after you say this, is you needing to manage your emotions around what your husband might be thinking and feeling. Stay out of his/her head. You could even promise to make time on the weekend at a certain time. This will give you time to really pump yourself up for a great night with your spouse.
I often find however, that I like my reasons for saying “yes.” I like the connection we have and the closeness we feel from spending time together, weather intimate or not. But I also don’t have a husband who demands my time like I know other husbands or wives do. Always ask yourself “Do I like my reasons for saying “Yes” or saying “No”?” If you like your reasons for saying “no”, choose to be okay with the outcome. If you like your reasons for saying “yes”, own that this is your choice.
Are you struggling with people pleasing? I’d love to coach you around this topic. Schedule your 1:1 coaching sessions with me today, and let me help you clear the cluttered thoughts in your brain.
Be sure to head over and listen to Brooke Castillo’s podcast this week – Love vs. People pleasing.
This blog post and podcast episode was brought to you by Norwex Microfiber. Ditch the clorox wipes and use something that’s healthier for your home and your body. Get Norwex HERE