we don't want to be rude, upset someone or cause conflict;
we don't want to hurt someone's feelings;
we are basically pretty kind and generous;
we feel like we 'should' say yes;
we don't want to let someone down;
we want to be a 'good' friend, wife, mother, employee etc.
we don't want to miss out on something
These are all things I have felt over the years and I'm sure you can come up with some other reasons too. But whatever the reason for saying yes when you really want to say no the truth is that you just end up hurting yourself. Doing something when we don't really want to takes away energy and time that could be better directed towards something that we do want to do. It can also lead to resentment and a victim mentality over time e.g. 'I always have to do everything'; 'why is it always me who...'; etc. And that is not attractive or healthy for anyone. By the time we get to 40 surely we've earned the right to do more of what we love and kick all the 'shoulds' to the curb! I know I don't want to waste my time on things that I don't really want to do anymore.
Now, okay I live in the real world so I know that sometimes we have to make an exception and do something even if we are not jumping on the sofa with joy a la Tom Cruise style. BUT it should be the exception NOT the rule. You do NOT have to do everything you are asked to do, it is okay to say no. No excuses necessary. Remember that the word no doesn't have to cause conflict or upset or guilt, it is all in the way you say it. When you value yourself and your time you will find it easier to say no without guilt. You will find that you are able to say no with confidence and respect for the other person as well as yourself. Be firm, be kind, but don't go into a loooong explanation about why you can't UNLESS it is something that you would actually like to do but for some reason can't.
I have discovered in the last few months whilst practising the art of saying no more and more that my real friends don't even require an explanation. They accept that if I say no then I mean no and have my own reason. All the guilt and worry I was feeling was coming from me. And the odd person that has had a problem with me saying no, well it seemed to stem from their own annoyance at always saying yes to everything. Saying no to some things has left me more time and space to say yes to the things I would rather be doing. It might sound a little cheesy but it actually feels very empowering plus it gets easier every time.
What can you say 'no' to this week?
You can read more things that 'every woman should know after 40' here.