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What would happen if you said No?

Part of my job as a coach, is to explore with my client the things that they really want to do and the changes they want to make. They may have put these things off for many reasons.

They may feel slightly (or very) uncomfortable about pursuing ‘the thing’ or perhaps are unsure about where to start to make it all happen. Maybe they aren’t even aware there is a thing until we start talking and it comes up in a session.

If we are not encouraged to take a look outside of our comfort zones, we may never explore these things – often because it’s easier not to go there.

Sometimes we don’t explore because of fear and sometimes it’s because we don’t have the time to dedicate to it, because we are so busy with other things.

The topic this week covers both of these areas – it can free you up to do what you really want to be doing and it may take you out of your comfort zone.

I’m talking about Saying No more often - it’s one of the most important personal boundaries that we can set for ourselves.

Many of us struggle to say No because we worry about how the other person will feel. Will they get upset or angry? Will we seem rude or selfish?

As a result we can get used to pretty much always saying Yes – pleasing others but not necessarily pleasing ourselves.

In times when we were allowed to go out for a drink or a coffee, how many times did you agree to meet up when you didn’t really want to?

In the past I often found myself in those sort of situations when I would agree to something just because it was easier than dealing with what might happen, if I said No.

A client asked me recently “what’s wrong with saying Yes and keeping other people happy? Isn’t that a good thing to do?”

Agreeing to help people is of course a good thing, just not all the time. It’s important to know your limits and to make sure that some of the time you put yourself first.

What happens if you don’t?

We can lose sight of ourselves and our own needs. When your life is so full of other people’s wants, needs and whims, it can be hard to even know what our own wants and needs are.

From there, we can feel frustrated, perhaps disappointed. Over time we can become resentful. This can build and may manifest as anger and none of those things are good for our mental or physical health.

Whilst we are in lockdown, I get that we may have to help more people than usual and our time may be taken up with working, homeschooling, getting groceries or making food for others.

But what about when life looks a bit more like it used to?

Could you do some thinking and planning now to ensure that your life is where you want to be going forward?

Here are some points to remember that I think may help:

What will other people think? Most of the time they will be perfectly ok with you saying No. If they aren’t ok with it, then it’s their problem and not yours.

You are allowed to say No without an explanation and without an apology. If you want to explain, then keep it short.

If you are asked to help, go somewhere or take part in something, are you agreeing for yourself or to keep somebody else happy? If it’s the first one, then that’s great.

Be assertive – this doesn’t mean being abrupt, rude or insensitive (I’m sure you would never do that). It simply means that you speak in a clear way, without beating around the bush. No need to raise your voice, just talk normally.

Listen to your feelings – they are like a map pointing you in the right direction. You know if you want to do something or not so pay attention to your feelings – they know all about personal boundaries. If it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.

If you said No more often, what might happen?

The list is endless but what I can guarantee is that the more time you have to do the things you really want to do and the more time you can spend with the people who are important to you (even if remotely) will probably result in a clearer head, less of a ‘put upon’ feeling and less feeling overwhelmed.

Perhaps for the first time, you will have clarity around what you really want and that’s quite a powerful thing.

Saying No can open the door to amazing things and it won’t be as hard as you think.

Get in touch if this is something that you need help with, perhaps you would like to look at your own personal boundaries and we can have a chat about how I could help and support you – I would love to hear from you.


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