Why do so many women, often at about 50 years of age, lose the inability to say No without making excuses or providing an explanation? Are we so indoctrinated with the belief that our purpose is to serve others? Do we not understand that unless we serve ourselves first, we lose the ability to serve others?
One of my favourite sayings is “Give to yourself constantly and you can give to others endlessly”. Think about it for a second; how true are these words for you? Do you give to yourself constantly? If not, why not? How can you give to others if your heart is closed? We all become tired and worn down over time if we fail to replenish our spirit and body. How much better would your relationships and friendships be, on every level, if you were constantly refreshing yourself?
When we are children, No is one of the first words in our vocabulary; watch any toddler and you will see No used almost indiscriminately! But as we grow older, we are taught it’s unacceptable to be so forthright. Freedom to say No is replaced by the desire to please. We even dumb ourselves down to please others … read the blog!
If you wish you could be assertive and stand up for yourself, speak your truth and do what is right for you and be guilt free; when do you start?
I believe you start by establishing your boundaries, something that seems to cause consternation to most women. If it really causes you a problem, think of yourself as the Princess in the Tower surrounded by a wall of thorns. Nobody breaches the wall unless you choose to let them do so. You’re maintaining your privacy and the right to respond to others as you choose, to keep a comfortable space between you and them where you feel relaxed.
Some suggestions we make for establishing boundaries:
Establish what’s important to you.
Be clear on your values and you’ll be able to make decisions based on what you want, rather than living with the expectations of others.
Base your boundaries on your self-awareness.
Be clear on who you are and, more importantly, who you aren’t! Understand yourself enough to work out what you actually want to do and how close you want people to be; physically and emotionally.
Be flexible with your boundaries.
Stay open-minded and keep an eye open for the possibilities for growth and learning offered by new opportunities. This is one instance in which saying ‘No’ may prevent growth!
Use your intuition
When you allow your intuition (your sixth sense, your gut) to take over, setting boundaries becomes a simple process. If you don’t work regularly with your intuition or don’t believe you have intuition (huh?!), become aware of how you feel and react to different people and situations. This is one of the best ways of establishing boundaries and saying No …
Boundaries may cause guilt
It’s the sense of letting people down and it isn’t uncommon. Whatever you decide will upset some and frustrate others; stick with your decisions. In the end it will be best for everyone!
Some of the benefits of saying No
□ Your priorities take precedence over those of others … yay!
□ You will no longer have your time crowded by acquaintances
□ Yes, you will finally have the time for rest and recovery.
□ You will no longer be frustrated and stressed by trying to do things for everyone else.
□ You will be able to say “YES” to the really important things; those things that are important to you …
It’s wise to remember that saying No requires no explanation.
Saying No empowers you to make the decisions you want; perhaps even travel?!
When I run workshops and seminars, the two favourite sayings I like my girls to leave with …
It’s all about me …
because it is! Until you learn to adopt the Attitude that goes with the saying, you will continue to be drained by others. Keep saying it to yourself and out loud; you’ll know when you believe it … it’s a definite Aha moment!
because it isn’t! Those people who constantly bring their problems and woes to you are energy suckers. Why not start re-framing their language and yours, to help them understand they can solve their own problems … now there’s an idea to conjure with!!
Do you say No without a qualm or do you worry what others will think? Can you say No to your family and empower them by insisting they find the answer to their problems themselves; because they can?! Do you feel mean when you say No?