An essential part of having a great work-life balance is the ability to say no when it’s appropriate and warranted. It’s a helpful component of setting healthy boundaries and feeling good about our decision-making.
Many people find it difficult to say no when they really would like to because they want to please people. The trouble is, it’s too easy to fall into the cycle of consistently displeasing ourselves. When we say yes repeatedly at the expense of our own happiness, we may become resentful before long.
So how can we gain confidence to say no when we want to say yes to ourselves more often? I believe there are five important considerations and interventions necessary to set healthy boundaries that will enable us to say yes or no to others and feel confident in our decision to do it.
- Determine why you’re last on your own list. I know this is a loaded statement, but I assure you, this consideration and reflection is worthwhile. There isn’t much benefit to lingering in the past, but there is tremendous benefit to reflecting on the past to gain insight for the present and future. Why are we trying to please others? And what’s wrong with wanting to be on our own list? I am not suggesting that we should become selfish and have no consideration for others. However, I am suggesting that there may be growth opportunities as we think about the motives behind the tendency.
- Decide what do you want your new priorities to look like. What things do you need to start thinking about in order to move forward in a new direction? What would it look like to be on the list or higher on the list? Who or what would you need to seriously consider or reconsider? What would you be giving up, and what’s coming up for you as you think about it? Take the time to see it first. Take the time to envision. Goals should originate from a compelling vision.
- Stop over-explaining and stop apologizing. Just because you would like to say no to an offer or opportunity that’s presented doesn’t mean you need to explain profusely. Of course, there are times when it seems only reasonable that you offer a simple explanation. That’s perfectly fine and is often warranted. But when we overexplain and then we follow that with a litany of apologies for saying no, we’re compromising the certainty of our decision. The tendency is to talk ourselves into something we really would not like to do.
- Start saying yes to yourself before you say no to others. Why is the order important? In most cases, a purpose, a destination, a set of priorities, or a vision as our pwoerful yes enables us to say no more readily. There is no fear of missing out (FOMO), because we have a distinct reason for our decision that will keep us from wavering. Sometimes we struggle to say no to others because we really aren’t doing anything else and we don’t have any other aspirations. Spend some time developing a strong, powerful and compelling yes for your life. When you have it, it will be so much easier to say no when the offer or opportunity doesn’t support the journey.
- Start feeling good about saying yes again! And what do I mean by that? Well, when we would say yes before and we didn’t really want to, it was usually because we wanted to please someone else or help out at our expense. But now it’s different. We have done some major work developing self-awareness and gaining insight into our own tendencies. We know what we would like to have differently and have developed a powerful yes to move toward. We are working with new awareness. Now, we can make informed, thoughtful decisions and we can feel good about saying yes again from a different space.
We have the freedom to say either yes or no when others present offers and opportunities. When we make decisions aligned with our purpose and personal values, we can be confident in the intended outcome. You deserve to be on the list.
If you need support creating healthy boundaries, schedule a FREE Discovery Call at tabithaperson.com/discover. No obligation.