What is your instinctive response when someone asks you to do something? Whether it is for a ride to work, to meet for dinner, or to let out the dog for a potty break, I would generally say “yes.”
When asked to do something, I saw it as helping someone. I felt I had to have a really important reason for saying “no.”
For a long-time, I did not see commitments to myself to work out, care for my own home, or personal care and relaxation as important reasons to say “no.” Surely, I could just take care of me later.
Years ago my friend Dawn said “no” to going for a walk. She wanted a night home by herself. I love evenings to myself and had never considered that as a reason for not doing something. As an introvert, I really need that time, but up until then had not really made it priority.
Her nonchalance in saying “no” really struck me. I did not realize that was a thing. You could just say “no” to someone because you wanted to take care of you?
This helped be more mindful of my responses. I also learned to sometimes ask people, “when do you need know?” or “may I Iet you know in a couple of days?” to give myself time to think about my answer or check my calendar. (If you choose to say that, really let the person know in a couple of days.) Although I oftentimes automatically say “yes,” five considerations help me in responding:
1) What is the reason for my answer?
2) Do I like that reason?
3) Who else might be impacted by my answer?
4) Considering myself and others, do I still like my reason?
5) Will my future self (one week or even one year from now) be satisfied with this reason?
As some people get comfortable in relationships, whether friendships, family, or team members, they may begin to say no to each other more often. Because they established trust, this may be fine for a while. However, when the “no” happens too many times, one person may feel slighted.
As a mediator, I work with a lot of families who quickly say “yes” to helping out friends or other family. This may feel good, kind and compassionate. It sometimes means saying no themselves and their relationship, which may impact self-care and connection in the relationship. Again, knowing the reason and considering the consequences makes a difference.
Every time I say “no,” I say “yes” to someone or something else. It’s okay if sometimes the someone is me, and the something else meets my needs. I help out friends, family, and even strangers, and do so without my personal care tank running on empty.
I can fully value my relationships and myself at the same time. It helps to know the reason for my decisions.
What is your reason?