Then why can’t we say it? Where did we lose the ability to say no? As little children, saying NO took up most of our days and we had absolutely no trouble with it. NO, NO, NO, I DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT! Somewhere along the way into adulthood things changed though.
Today WordPress’ question is:
What can’t you say no to?
Well, salted popcorn jumps to mind. And nuts. I love nuts. But I don’t go around talking to my food, so I guess the meaning lies elsewhere 😉
I have trouble saying no to my children and partner, to my friends, to people I care about when they need me. And that is a good thing, because then I do not WANT to say no!
Saying no depends on the situation. What is the request, what are the circumstances, do I have the time to do things? It is about priorities. Most of all you need to stay true to yourself, not always try to please others.
This morning Christine Kane answered my unspoken musings on the subject by sending me her newsletter. The subject was ‘Why You Can’t Say No’. Coincidence or fate? I want to share her wisdom in this post.
Why You Can’t Say No: The 7 Biggest Blunders that Keep You Nodding to Everyone but Yourself
by Christine Kane
Know what’s funny?
Many women can talk about anything when it comes to personal growth work. They aren’t afraid to “go there.” But as soon as the topic of Saying No comes up, they’ll sit back in their seats.
No can do.
Tried that! It didn’t work.
In fact, it seems the only thing they’re willing to say no to is… Saying No! But saying no is critical if you want to move to the next level in your life. As you uplevel, you must begin to say no to the “good” so you can say yes to the “great!” Saying No is NOT hard. But you might be making some mistakes in how you do it! Here are the seven most common blunders we make when we try to say NO:
1 – Waiting until you’re put on the spot
Most people never actually take time to ask themselves about their No’s. They wait until they’re put on the spot – and then they let their emotions (guilt, fear, anxiety) make their decisions for them! While you can’t be prepared for every request that comes your way, you can get clear on your No’s in advance. I call this The Proactive No. Write your list of Proactive No’s on a day off. “No volunteer positions on weekends.” “No more committees.” “No Sunday night dinner parties.” Get clear about how you want to honor your time and priorities. That way when you say no, it will be simple and authentic!
2 – Over-explaining
Rather than saying a clear “No,” many people try to explain their way out of it. This only digs them deeper into the muck. When you over-explain yourself, you embody uneasiness. Over-explaining says, “I don’t really mean this, so I’m trying to find proof.”
3 – Using disempowered language
Language is a key element of effective “No-Saying.” Empowered language is clear, firm, compassionate, and keeps the focus on the issue. Most people get so nervous and distracted that they ultimately do themselves a disservice by speaking at all. They ramble through the territory of the “sort of,” “kinda,” and “ya know.” Empowered language stops the rambling. “I’m getting clear on my priorities so I’m cutting back on extra activities. In order to honor that intention, I need to say no. Thanks for understanding.”
4 – Trying to get approval
Rather than simply turning something down, many people try to “campaign” for their No. They want to say “No.” But that’s not enough. They also want the parties involved to approve of their “No,” agree with their “No,” and not be mad at them for saying “No.” Saying No means that some people might be disappointed in you. That’s their “stuff.” Accept that. Give them the gift of allowing their disappointment. Give yourself the gift of having preferences.
5 – Hoping people will just ‘get it.’
Not responding at all. Putting the request off for a week. Avoiding eye-contact. These are the dances we do, hoping that people will just “get it.” The problem with this approach is not that you’re not being “nice” to other people. The problem is that you aren’t being complete with yourself. These little “Non-no’s” are actually draining your creative energy. Stop the leaks, and say no in the moment!
6 – Promising something you don’t mean
There’s a “Friends” episode where Ross’s new girlfriend asks him where their relationship is “going.” Ross admits to his Friends that he doesn’t want the relationship to go anywhere. But rather than stating this to his girlfriend, Ross gives her the keys to his apartment and tells her he loves her. It’s a funny episode because it shows how much energy and integrity we lose when we dishonor our own desires.
7 – Giving in to guilt
When you say No, you might have to deal with some guilt. At first, being on your own side is scary. This is why some people cave in as soon as the discomfort of guilt arises. Within a week, they change their mind and opt back into the thing they didn’t want to do in the first place. Wavering and waffling sends shaky messages to everyone involved, including yourself. Allow the guilt, and just experience it. You’ll get more comfortable after a little practice!
Let’s face it. Saying No is uncomfortable sometimes. But once you experience the clarity and space that comes from saying No successfully, then you’ll never want to go back to the way you used to do it!
Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com