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Wednesday, February 15, 2017
How easy is it for you to say "no" to others? I often hear people who are stressed out or over-committed admit, "I have a hard time saying no". Few would argue that uttering this little, two-letter word is more difficult for some than others. Saying "no" when necessary, is a tool we all need in our self-care toolbox.
As we prioritize time for ourselves, it is inevitable we may have to say "no" to others including our friends, family, and coworkers or supervisors. Recognizing when it is time to say "no" requires one to honor just how valuable their time is and respect their priorities (including yourself, remember the oxygen mask here!). Many agree, there is a true art to saying "no" politely, yet firmly.
Remember that being respectful does not mean that you need to explain in detail why you are saying "no". My favorite quote by author Anne Lamott is "No is a complete sentence." In general, remember to keep your "no" brief, polite, and fairly general.
A few tips on learning the art of saying "no":
- Practice – Repeating "no" may be necessary to get the message across.
- Don't apologize – This is a tough one! It's all too common to start out by saying "I'm sorry but…" While this is polite, it also sounds like you are at fault. There is no need to apologize for respecting your boundaries.
- I'll get back to you – This will give you time to evaluate and to check your commitments and priorities before answering.
- The alternative idea "no" – "I'm sorry I'm not free today, but I am free later on in the week. Can we meet then?"
Remember, being able to say "no" is important to setting clear boundaries. Learning how to say "no" when necessary can prevent feeling overburdened and fatigued. Sounds like a great way to take care!