Did you know there are two words, that if used correctly, can make your life so much easier? It’s true, you can change your life with the proper understanding and use of just two words. Those words are “yes” and ”no.” I’m a big fan of saying yes to things, especially if that yes will enrich my life in some way, make me a better person, make me feel good, or put me outside my comfort zone and scare me shitless. I’m also a big fan of saying no. I use this one when I don’t want to do something and objectively have no responsibility associated to the request. It’s wonderful, you should try it.
I understand that a lot of people, particularly women, have a difficult time saying no. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the patriarchy and all its crapola about ladies must be kind, humble, giving, and must put everyone else’s needs before their own. Or maybe I’m wrong and it’s some other reason *shrug*, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we acknowledge our difficulty and realize we are giving away our power and devaluing ourselves when we spread ourselves too thin and give away our energy to things that are really not at the top of our priority list. You should be at the top of your own priority list by the way because if you do not take care of yourself, you are going to have a much harder time giving to everyone else.
Saying no can be hard, but sometimes it is very easy, especially if you take a good look at what is being asked of you. Here is short list of things that get a easy “no” from me:
- Can you please fill out your sons’ reading logs?No. We read at night and after lights out I have better things to do than run down stairs to record our books. My mornings are already too busy to take time to record our reading and I will have forgotten what we read by that time anyway, so no. Rest assured, we are reading.
- Can you please bring a team snack?No. Stop putting pressure on me to bring snacks for an entire sports team. I can barely remember to pop an apple in my purse for my own kid, so no I do not want to be responsible for the stomachs of a bunch of little people. Does anyone enjoy doing this? Let’s just come together with a collective “NO” on this one, okay?
- Would you like to book dentist appointments for all your children six months from today?No. You know I don’t have insurance. What is the matter with you? I would be happy to never come back here again. Book me for nine months from now. Grr.
- Can you tidy up a bit today if you get a chance?This isn’t so much a hard “no”, but it’s probably not going to happen, sorry honey.
How to say no can be very tricky for some people. If you often find yourself caught off guard, here are a few responses to have in your back pocket to let people know you are not interested in engaging with them.
- Wow, that sounds great. I would love to help/buy/try that out, but the timing is off for me.
- I’m so sorry. I wish I could help. Next time.
- Thank you for asking me, but I’m focusing on my own priorities right now.
- No, thank you.
You can use these in combination too! If someone keeps asking you for/to do something after you already said no in a soft way, go to just a plain “no.” It is a very powerful word. It’s liberating for the people using it and stops askers in their tracks. Also, you do not need to explain why you are saying no to something. It’s nobody’s business and you don’t owe anyone anything.
If you are unsure of when saying no is appropriate, you can use this handy guide to help you out.