Learning to say No is a life skill we can all benefit from.
“Life is so hard, I’ve got no time for myself. All I do is run around after everyone else, and no one seems to give a sh*t about what I need.
I feel invisible most of the time – I’m just the person who organises everything, works, cleans, does the shopping, ferries people where they need to go – I’m so exhausted.
I’m surrounded by people I love, but I don’t think any of them care about what I really need to be happy.”
My client who is in her 60’s spurted this out, head down and in tears.
“Have you told them how you feel?” I inquired gently.
She looked up, slightly stunned and confused. “Erm no” she replied.
Big sigh, big gulp and then a load of tears came flooding out – it was like a dam finally burst inside of her.
“Because if I do then they will think I am an ungrateful, horrible person. After all what do I have to complain about. I have a good marriage, a good job, house, kids – everything but …..”
“But what?” I coaxed.
“But I’m desperately unhappy and I can’t tell anyone.”
“I can see that. Don’t worry you’re not an ungrateful or horrible person, you’re just not quite living the life you were put here to live – and we can work on that.”
This is not an isolated story. I’ve heard it so many times from both women and men. Who are afraid to tell their closest family that they aren’t happy, for fear that the person listening will not understand or even worse think badly of them.
It is a tough place to be, learning to say no is not easy – I know I was that person during my whole marriage. And as it turns out, the devastating effect of saying how we feel is also not true, it is an illusion we tell ourselves.
Do you find yourself not telling someone what you are thinking for fear of their reaction or their judgement of you?
Do you end up doing things that you don’t want to do because you can’t say no – then you wind up being resentful?
Do you beat yourself up for not being strong enough to ‘stand your ground’ and say what you really want?
From my experience, it is more common than you realise. So I would like to share with you a few tips I have learned over the years.
Ask for what you want, from your heart
Asking from a place of love and without ‘blaming’ or ‘shaming’ the other person it is not as hard as it seems. Make the conversation about you, and what you want. Not about what they are doing or not doing, which is hurting you. They will be more likely to listen than be defensive.
Speak your mind in the moment.
Try not to stew on situations. Stewing just causes you mental stress, and it makes the situation seem bigger and more dramatic in your head than in reality.
Going back after the fact can feel petty (which why we often don’t bother) but it also causes stress in us, building up to “that conversation I need to have”.
If you do find you need to bring something up after the fact, do it with love (no point scoring).
The other person’s opinion is just that ‘opinion’
It is not necessarily the truth. I often ask clients this question … “Do you believe that your opinion of other people matters?” to which I regularly get “no” then I ask “So why should their opinion of you matter?”
Other people’s opinion of you actually does not matter.
In fact, one of my most favourite quotes of all time from Dr Wayne Dyer is:
“What other people think of me is none of my business. One of the highest places you can get to is being independent of the good opinions of other people.”
If you find you have a hard time saying no without feeling guilty – think of my voice telling you these 3 steps. It can be difficult to change the habits of a lifetime but you can do it.
If you need a guide to find that strength in you – book a time with me for a FREE discovery session. Let’s work on a stronger more empowered and happier you.