I want to give you permission to do something crazy. Something you might not let yourself do. Something that might be scary and risky.
I give you permission to say “no”.
Go ahead. Try it. Say it out loud, “N.O. No.”
Why do we have such a hard time with this teeny, tiny word? You’re asked to volunteer for an event. Your friend asks you to babysit at the last minute. Your child wants something. A family member asks for a favor. And the automatic response is “YES”. Whether we are really able or willing isn’t even considered before that YES escapes our lips.
If we aren’t careful, all those yeses add up to an overwhelming schedule. And the first thing to give to make room for all our new responsibility is usually the thing we need most of all. Time for ourselves – to rest and recharge. And then, time with our family is sacrificed as demands on our time increase.
Should you always say no when a favor is asked of you? Of course not. There’s a fine line between having a healthy “no” and being selfish. If you are able to help, you should. Just so your helpfulness doesn’t come at the expense of your own health or that of your own family.
Opportunities to help should be considered honestly to determine 1) if you have the time and 2) if you are truly qualified for the task.
If the answer to both of those questions is “yes” then you can say “yes” to the opportunity and enjoy the feelings of helpfulness and accomplishment. However, if you don’t have time or don’t feel qualified, you shouldn’t automatically say “yes” out of obligation or guilt. Otherwise you’ll be enjoying the feelings of frustration and stress and perhaps even bitterness.
If you automatically say yes whenever an opportunity presents itself, you are a slave to your yes. You aren’t choosing to help, you are defaulting to your yes. And those feelings of frustration and bitterness negate any intent of being a loving servant. Practice saying NO so that when you do say yes, you can truly mean it. Your healthy NO gives power to your YES, whenever you choose to use it.
Do you have a hard time saying “no” or does that seem to come naturally for you?