Balance Myth,  Personal Development

The Art of Saying “No”

No is such a powerful word

Last week I shared How to Be Busy With Grace. This week in our series of Circus or Symphony: Stop Juggling Your Life, I’ll teach you the Art of Saying “No.” I’m a people-pleaser at heart and the thought of disappointing anyone terrifies me. So much so, I over-extend myself, I become resentful of the heavy workload, and I find myself complaining to anyone who will listen. No, not anyone; My mom and my husband get the brunt of my meltdowns. It takes skill and planning to learn The Art of Saying “No.” It’s actually more graceful than you might think!

“Everyone wants a piece of me.” Learn the art of saying “no.”

The Oxygen Mask

Think back to your last airline flight. What does the flight attendant tell you to do with the oxygen mask in an emergency?

“Please secure your own mask before attempting to help your neighbor with theirs.”

There was no problem understanding this before I had children, but after I became a mom? Are you kidding me?! What kind of derelict parent would watch their precious child perish? No way would I let my child suffocate while I selfishly secured my mask first. Until I understood why:

You are no good to your children or others around you if you’ve passed out and can’t breathe!   

May I apply this to daily life? It is becoming increasingly apparent the more I try to please everyone, the more I lose the space for me. I want to be everyone else’s hero, yet there is no hero for me. Yes, my mom and husband try to rush to my aide, however it puts a strain on them, too. Are you faced with this challenge? Are you naturally nurturing? Do you painstakingly strive to fix others’ problems, but often at the risk of your own sanity? Do you rearrange your schedule at the drop of a hat to accommodate clients or employers?

I still struggle with this. A friend once dubbed me Miss Tennessee. Why? Well silly, that’s The Volunteer State! I am talking to myself in this article in order to put my own life in perspective. The best word I could ever teach you is: NO.

You can learn to say no.

When you say no to a request that doesn’t honor what you are trying to accomplish, you leave room to do things that are in alignment with your vision. Friend’s, I know it’s hard. My mom is one of my very best friends, and she has been trying to teach me how to say no for years, yet it’s still so much easier to let the word, “ Yeeessssss???…!” escape my lips. No sooner had I made the commitment, I immediately feel a dread. Sure I can bake five dozen cookies for the PTO meeting this week.  It’s time to learn to think before we speak. It’s oxygen mask time!

A phrase that I am currently using is, “Oh, that sounds great. Thanks for asking me, but I need to check my calendar first. May I let you know tomorrow?” There has been some success. Baby steps guys, baby steps. You are trying to shine and be a light to those around you. If you burden yourself with too many commitments, your attitude isn’t going to be right with those involved in the project.

Before you blurt out, “Yes!”, press the pause button.  Can you afford to give away your precious time from yourself and family?

I encourage you to practice The Art of Saying “No” with these simple tips:

  1. Wait before you say yes and consult with your calendar.
  2. Only say yes to things that truly bring joy or align with a purpose you are backing.
  3. If there is an obligation that must be met, set boundaries on what you are willing to do.
  4. Once your calendar is full, do not squeeze in unnecessary appointments; they can wait.

Join me next week where I show you how to schedule you into your calendar.

It’s easy to say “yes”. The true challenge is saying, “no.” – Anne Tabor, Dream Coach® and Color Expert


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