Self Care

How To Say No Without Feeling Guilty

My name is Laura and I have a confession to make.  I used to be a people pleaser.  I wanted to make everyone happy so there were many times that I said YES instead of saying No! Now I say say no without feeling guilty.

It ranged from little things like taking extra work on at my job to hosting a dinner with 35 people to volunteering at the concession stand over and over again.  Yep, all real-life things and totally not a total list of everything I’ve said yes to.

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Maybe this sounds like you.  You say yes to lots of various things for one reason or another and you’re getting tired.  You may feel like you’re being walked over, used, run down and exhausted from not doing the things that you want to do.  I get it!  I felt like that once.  I had to learn however that if I said No to someone, that it would be okay and life would go on.

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So, you might be thinking “Well, how did you do this?”  Let me share.

First off, please note that this didn’t happen overnight.  It’s something that I’ve become more comfortable with over the years as I have become more confident in my own self and I’ve learned what brings me joy and what doesn’t in my life.

Rule one: It’s okay to be selfish!

Yes, I wrote that out and I often say it out loud also.  I am a big believer in giving back to others however, as the old saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”   Think about all of the things that you’ll be able to have because you’re saying yes to yourself and no to someone else. You can say no without feeling guilty and I’ll share why and how soon.

Rule 2:  Be honest!

If there is a reason why you can’t do something, let the other person know.    If it is something that is going to cause more stress, that would make you sacrifice something important to you or if it involves causing trouble at home with a spouse or children, be up front and let them know.  There’s no shame in telling the truth.

Rule 3: Be Strong!

This is a time for you to be strong and firm in your decision of saying no.  Say it with confidence and allow yourself to not be pushed into something that does not work for you. Some people will know what words might trigger guilt for you and use that as a tactic.  Don’t give in. You can say no without feeling guilty! You have to do it over and over sometimes till it becomes a habit, just like anything else. Know that you have every right to make choices that help you create the kind of life you desire.  The more you do this, the easier it will become.

Rule 4: Be Prepared!

Not everyone is going to like you saying No especially if they’ve been in the habit of getting your help and attention and you have to be prepared for that.  However, it goes back to this one question that I ask my coaching clients and I’m asking you. What do you want your life to look like?  Grab some paper and answer and reflect on that and remind yourself that is okay to say no without feeling guilty! At some point and time, you’re going to have to learn to say no to something or someone and well, this issue that they have with you telling them no is on them, not you.  Do what works best for you!

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Rule 5: Offer Alternatives!

Sometimes there will be situations in where you actually need to say yes for one reason or another and maybe at that moment, timing isn’t good.  Offer an alternative.  For example, you are asked to bake cupcakes for one of your child’s event.  Knowing your schedule, you know that there is no way you can do that without being up all night so you compromise and tell them you’ll supply snack cakes or cookies instead.  You’ve just offered an alternative that works for everyone and you were able to still say say no without feeling guilty in a round about way.

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