Is saying ‘no’ hard for you?
Let me guess; you are so overwhelmed you can’t think straight. You are the go-to person for everything and now realize that that it’s too much. But if you say ‘no’, it will look like you aren’t a team player and appear selfish. Or worse, if you say ‘no’ this time, you may lose out on future opportunities.
It’s is a terrible conundrum to experience. You want to help as much as possible, but you also have very little time for yourself. You’re trading your time to do all the things you want to do with your life, to help others.
Let me ask you this; how is that working out for you now? What areas of your life are suffering as a result. I can take a wild guess that you are not sleeping much and have very little fun.
If you aren’t aware of this right now, you are a people pleaser. Being a people please isn’t a negative characteristic; it means you are an empath and have a strong desire to help others and be of service. The downside of this is you’ll burn out fast if you don’t develop discernment of who you should help and what you should be spending your time on.
I am a former “people pleaser,” and the result of this behavior left me burnt out and dealing with a cancer diagnosis. I spent most of my life helping others because I had a deep need inside me to be liked. I gave in to this need by helping others. This behavior becomes a problem when it gets out of control leaving, no time for yourself. You have a natural desire to help others; however, it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your well-being.
You’ve been people-pleasing your entire life; as such, it’s not going to be easy to break the habit. It will take time and practice, so take it easy on yourself.
Here are two tools and habits you can build to say ‘no more easily.’
Take a pause.
It’s likely you have very little time for yourself because you don’t pause before committing to helping someone. Your big heart listens to the opportunity, and the word ‘yes’ flows from your mouth instantly. The next time someone asks you to commit your time to something, pause and say, let me get back to you. In the time frame you’re getting back to them, consider if it’s the best use of your time. If it’s not, kindly reply to the requestor and indicate that you would love to help, but you don’t have time to give their project the proper attention. When someone asks you to do something you don’t have interest in, such as help them move, kindly decline and indicate that you have other commitments. When you commit to doing something for someone you don’t want to do, you start to build resentment.
Implementing this new behavior won’t be easy at first. You have to ease into it. I suggest trying “the pause” out on less important requests to build your muscle to say ‘no.’
Taking a pause is the time to evaluate if you can take on another project. To properly evaluate, come up with a list of questions you can ask to get you closer to a yes.
An example of questions are:
Do I have time to take on this project?
Do I feel like doing this project?
Will taking on this project improve an area of my life?
Will I enjoy doing this project?
Will my time be appreciated?
Will taking on this project take away from what I want to do?
The point is to create a set of questions that will justify you saying ‘yes’ to giving away your time.
As a people pleaser, it’s extremely difficult to say ‘no’ because you want to help, but keep in mind saying ‘no’ now will prevent you from burning out and allow you put the best effort toward your ‘yeses.’