How do you feel when you need to say no to someone?
I am very bad at saying no. I won’t even list the ways here, because that wouldn’t be a post – that would be a report. A long one.
Suffice to say I have had several awkward conversations recently all because I struggle to say no.
But I came to a realisation recently, that is helping me reframe what no means. Or rather, what my frequent yeses mean.
Our time, resources and energy is finite, so by saying yes to one thing, we are saying no to another.
Saying yes to one thing means saying no to another.
- Saying yes to that skirt means saying no to dinner out with friends. (Money is finite.)
- Saying yes to that committee means saying no to watching your son play soccer. (Time is finite.)
- Saying yes to another hour of TV at night means saying no to early morning yoga. (Energy is finite.)
- Saying yes to the door-to-door salesman means saying no to the charity collector. (Money.)
- Saying yes to another sporting committment means saying no to time with your partner. (Time.)
- Saying yes to becoming a mentor means saying no to another opportunity. (Energy.)
I’m not saying that these yeses are wrong. It’s wonderful to help people, to be involved, to bond and be active.
We just need to remember that there are two sides to this coin. One yes equals one no.
Thinking about it this way helps me feel OK saying no when I usually would have caved in and said yes. If you have the same internal struggle when it comes to saying no, when you’re next faced with the prospect of saying no, ask yourself:
Is this an important yes? Or am I saying yes simply because I don’t want to face saying no?
Tell me, do you struggle saying no? How do you overcome it?