History talks about “yes men” – people who just do whatever the person in charge wants them to do.
Unfortunately for these individuals, we never remember them. And, worse still, they wind up leading stressful, difficult lives, trying to please everyone.
Interestingly, this culture doesn’t just affect historical royal courts or gangs of henchmen. It also applies to our own lives. We can get into the habit of saying yes to everything, just because we want to please other people.
Here’s what you should know: Saying no can be hard at first, but it gets easier with practice. The more you say no to the things that don’t serve you, the more you can say yes to the things that do. Over time, you’ll get used to it, and so will the people around you.
But how do you say no without feeling guilty for hurting someone’s feelings? Here are some tips to help you master the art and support your wellbeing.
Set Out Your Priorities
Before you say “yes” to anything, ask whether it aligns with your goals and values. Try to figure out if it’s moving your life in the direction you want it to go in, or whether you’re just helping someone else.
More importantly, ask if it will bring you joy and fulfilment. If you’re just cleaning up someone else’s mess, then you should probably say no.
Give The Task To Someone Else
Saying “yes” usually means doing something for someone else. They want you to look after their kids or feed their dog. Whatever it is, it’s a good idea to pass the professional stuff over to someone else.
For example, let’s say you care for elderly family members. Instead of trying to solve all their problems yourself, you could experiment with memory care services or care workers in the home. These professionals can deal with the most challenging issues while you use your time in other ways.
Saying no doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the other person or their situation. It just means that you’re going to live life on your terms. It’s not selfish.
Try to express your support and appreciation for them in other ways. For example, you can say “I know this is important to you, and I’m here for you if you need me” but avoid committing yourself to anything big that will get in the way of your life.
Be Honest With Other People
You also need to be honest with other people and true to yourself and values. Don’t say yes when you mean no, or vice versa. If you feel a little voice in your head, telling you that you did the wrong thing, listen to it. It will provide important information that could save you a lot of heartbreak in the future.
With that said, avoid the temptation to say “no” out of anger. You don’t have to live your life in a totally selfish way. However, you want to strike a balance that feels sustainable to you.
A penny for your thoughts?