Do you find yourself taking on too much and then feeling irritable and hurried? Are you so compassionate that you:
• Reach out to others and extend yourself way beyond your emotional, physical and financial needs.
• Agree to do something and than anguish about your decision, wishing you had said no from the start.
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If you fit this profile you are likely a people-pleaser and need to learn how to say no without regret! One of the greatest life skills people can learn is how to say no without any qualifiers or any lingering guilt. Sound simple? People complain that they feel that they need to explain their rationale for saying no. As a personal life coach, I teach people that “no” is a complete sentence. There is no need to defend yourself by saying, “No, I can’t do it right now”, or “No, I am too busy”, or “No, I can’t afford to go”. Although both sexes can suffer from this dilemma, women are likely to be afflicted with what I call the “yes” syndrome. They don’t want to be seen as selfish or noncooperative. Women have been socialized to accommodate. It’s in our genes!
Motherhood requires that women accommodate the many needs of others. Even if you’re single, you were taught this by your own mother. Whether it’s learned or genetically predisposed, do you find yourself wanting to say no, struggling with the pros and cons, and saying yes anyway. Then, after you have said yes, you beat yourself up for the duration by thinking of all sorts of scenarios whereby you can get out of the obligation. Most people only conjure up these scenarios, they don’t act on them. This results in a double regret. The initial regret about saying yes and then regretting that you did not follow through with the scenario you created to get yourself out of the obligation.
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I know you have been taught since childhood that when you commit to something you should stick with it. As an adult, you have an obligation to yourself to recognize when you have taken on too much and do something about it!
Here is your homework assignment. After you say no, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty. Tell yourself that the people are not going to see you as a “slacker” or as “selfish”. Praise yourself for knowing your limits. You will have less resentment and more time to be who you really are!