Part 2: Today’s Prescription: How To Say No

Hmmm...a blog post on how to say No?  It’s easy right? Just NO.  

Last post I talked about how difficult, but yet how important for your health it is.  

So it’s hard and it’s important, but can it get easier?

Yes! Practice makes...easier.  

If you train for a marathon, does running get easier? Yes it does. And it feels great to accomplish more and more and be more and more skilled at running. I venture to think though, that even the most accomplished marathoner will never tell you that their last marathon was “easy.”

So what do you do when you have to do something that’s important and it’s hard?  You remind yourself of the why, you have a plan to practice to make it easier and you go for it. Over and over again. And you celebrate your small victories.  

Here are 3 truths to help you be better at saying no, so that you can teach yourself to say yes to the right things.

1. Understand That What You Want Matters

You deserve to advocate for yourself and feel like a superhero. You don’t need Clark Kent to swoop in. How would it feel to have a problem, feel a little uncomfortable, speak your mind and see that it sticks?  Super freaking awesome that’s how.  Keep in mind it can be very simple things.

State your true opinions: "I don’t like Mexican food. Let’s eat somewhere else."

Stick up for your own needs: If your body is telling you it needs to rest, you don’t have to go to that party you were invited to.

Be out there with your own wants: “Thank you so much for asking me to help find sponsorships for the school fundraiser.  I think it is so great what you are doing and I’m sorry I won’t be able to participate.  I love spending time in the classroom though, so if you ever need volunteers there, please let me know!”  

2. You Deserve To Feel At Peace & Comfortable – Not Stressed Out All The Time

You deserve to have some wiggle room. There is a reason that nobody picks the middle seat on the airplane. It’s not comfortable to have no wiggle room and no window to look out of.  When you say no to things, you create the space to be comfortable, create, relax, rest, restore, rejuvenate and stretch. You enjoy space to see things differently, to create a vision and act on it. You’ll never have time to be truly comfortable if you say yes to everything. And let me repeat, you deserve to feel comfortable.

3. You Deserve To Say Yes – A Lot

I know what you’re thinking, “Wait. I thought we were talking about saying no.” We are, but if you never say no, you won’t have any room to say yes to really great yes’s! If you are so cramped up with the yes’s for things that other people want you to do, there’s no room for your perfect, fun YES! You may not even know what that is yet. You may not even be able to imagine the yes that you are missing. But put on your super hero cape, stretch your wings and get prepared to venture into the yes zone.

Just do it: The Self-Rx for NO!

I recently was asked to take a day off from work to volunteer to interview candidates for scholarships. It just didn’t feel like a good fit–just wasn’t feasible with my schedule and level of commitment to this organization. So I broke the news:  Thank you so much for considering me to have a hand in choosing the recipients of these wonderful scholarships.  What a great opportunity for these students!  I am very sorry that I am not able to commit to this.  I will continue to spread the word about your program in any way I can and wish you the best in your meaningful work!  

A while back I realized that I use a pretty typical prescription for how I actually say no and feel good (not guilty) about it.

It is so uncomfortable sometimes, you need to follow a script at first. Try this one on. Copy, paste it, edit it, read it out loud, sing it however you need to make it work for you!

Thank you so much for thinking of me for _______________. I think what you are doing is awesome because <insert sincere reason(s) why you think it is awesome and valuable if you do>.
I am so bummed that it won’t work for me. <insert absolutely NO reason why because you don’t have to and there’s no need to offer an invitation for them to judge your reason>
I would be so happy to <insert some way you could support their work IF YOU WANT TO> or if you don’t want to.
I wish you all the best in _______________.

Now how does that feel?  

Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t quite feel like the mic drop moment you are envisioning. That’s okay. You are the only person that needs to celebrate yourself.  

So sigh of relief.

Happy dance.

Repeat as needed.

Enjoy your day!
-Dr. Paige