Be straight up. You can be honest and still be polite and gracious.

Or not! Up to you!

Saying no can be hard, especially if you are a natural people pleaser like me. I spent a lot of my life saying yes to the detriment of myself so people would be happy with me. Would like me. Would want to keep me as their friend or lover.

Fear of rejection, judgement, being ostracised, or not being liked kept me from saying no to others demands on my time, energy, presence and helpful nature.

It took a lot of time, and a lot of practicing my assertiveness on everyone around me, but now I understand.

It’s not rude, selfish or mean to say “No”.

I am ALLOWED to say “No”.

Any time I want and to whom ever I feel like.

Saying no is self-nurturing and an act of self-love.

It’s an art to learn how to say “NO” and it takes practice.

“No” has power. It establishes our boundaries.

To value our own time and wellbeing, and learn not to explain ourself to others is a skill which takes time and practice.

Start practicing.

Start small.

Pick your battles.

Begin saying no to your family and friends occasionally, or that work colleague you are always covering for.

If saying yes to someone, or something, is building resentment in you, or you’re feeling like you’re losing control over your life, are harbouring feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, depression, or are experiencing panic attacks, or irritability, because your own stuff isn’t getting done, you are actively self harming yourself.

Think about that for a minute.

Not saying “NO” can be an act of self harm.

Why is their stuff more important than yours?

Simple answer. It isn’t.

Self-care starts with you and you alone. Saying no is a big part of that. You set your boundaries.

Stop doing things out of guilt or obligation. If inside you are screaming “Nooooooooooooooo!” when someone asks you something listen to that voice.

Be straight up about it. You can be honest and still be polite and gracious.

You don’t need to make excuses or make stuff up or even apologise.

You’d be surprised how effective “No, I don’t want to” “No thank you” or “No, that’s not going to work for me” are.

By making excuses, even if they are valid, people will try to push your boundaries, and if they are used to you caving they know they just need to be a little more persistent, and that’s a slippery slope.

For instance if you get invited to go out on a Friday night, and all week you have had plans to come home have a long bath and read a book, YOU HAVE PLANS.

Just because they don’t involve other people doesn’t mean they aren’t valid.

The more excuses you give, the more people will try to curb them.

“But I can’t have a late night” – “That’s ok, it’s only going to be a few drinks, you’ll be home early”.

“I don’t want to take my car” – “That’s ok, I’ll pick you up”

“I can’t afford it” – That’s ok, I’ll shout you tonight.”

So if you really don’t want to go, just say so.

Go on. Try it. I dare you!

I said it in my last blog. We teach people how to treat us.

For some friends and family it’s going to be a shock when you start standing up for yourself and putting your needs first, but they won’t hate you for it. It won’t ruin your relationships.

It will strengthen and empower you which leads to empowered relating and greater self-esteem and self-worth. You may even teach them a thing or two.

Your mum will get over it.  Eventually.

Your kids won’t hate you…forever.

Your partner won’t break up with you for it.   Or maybe they will. But then aren’t you better off without them if they have no respect for you or your boundaries?

Ask yourself –

“Will my own obligations slide if I don’t say no?”

“Will this impinge on my priorities or personal needs?”

“Is this truly how I want to spend my time and energy?”

“Will I be uncomfortable or feel unsafe, bitter, or resentful if I say yes when I really mean no?”

If you say yes, then spend the whole time resenting what you are doing or who you are with it’s not good for anyone, least of all yourself.

Yes there are obligations you must meet. Yes some things in life aren’t an option. But for the things that are, you are in charge of choosing which option to take.

Fact: Over commitment lessens productivity.

You can’t be all things to everyone.

Saying yes to someone else often means we are saying no to ourselves.

Your health and wellbeing will be what suffers in the end.

Be aware of when you are being manipulated or someone is using emotional black mail on you to stop you saying no to them. That is a sure sign they aren’t giving you the respect you deserve.

If they are trying to make you feel guilty about saying no they are injecting poisonous energies into your life.  You don’t need that crap.

Is that how you want to live?

It’s your choice.

Say “No” and mean it.