Does the thought of saying “No” fill you with anxiety? That to turn down a request sets you up for guilty feelings? Do you think a “Yes” equates inclusion, importance, security, - love?
I remember distinctly learning this lesson many years ago. It has served me well ever since.
A friend in financial straits asked me to buy her stereo. Wanting to help, I obligated myself to the purchase. I failed to realize I was hurting me by obligating myself to financial stress.
I checked and double checked income verses outflow. I rationalized that although it would be difficult to pay, the melodious music would make it all worthwhile.
Reality dawned that the pain of having a huge chunk taken out of my next several paydays outweighed the pleasure of surround sound. In comparison, the stress of turning down a friend request was minimal
The decision was the hardest part.
Once the decision was made the weight lifted instantly. I could continue to live within my income. I had a new found appreciation for my radio. I could still listen to sweet music without the added expense of buying records. I felt so relieved. So non-guilty.
I said my “mea culpa” and recanted my agreement to purchase. We remained friends.
Through self-evaluation, my level of thinking had elevated to solving the problem. And a wonderful new pattern of living was set into motion. Namely:
· Life is about making choices: “Yes”; “No”; and owning up to misspeaks
· The freedom of saying “No” overrides and releases guilt
· Be judicious in making commitments; think it through first
· It is always need vs. need
· Do not be influenced by assumed obligation
A simple “No” or “No, thank you” is the most effective way to begin. It is complete, all-inclusive and leaves no room for argument.
Stress is living outside your boundaries. Rather than be suckered in with “I should” thinking, replace it with, “I could”. This small shift gives you time to evaluate before making a decision. Give yourself a little wiggle room with, “Let me check my calendar and get back with you”.
Feel good about saying “No” to things that tax your time, finances, emotional stability, commitments, family responsibilities or your over-all well being.