It sometimes feels like there is an unending parade of people who want your time, attention, and/or company. But there are only 24 hours in a day, and for the sake of your physical, mental and emotional health, you can’t (and don’t really even want to) say yes to everything. When you say yes to something that’s really a no, you’ll often find yourself wound up, stressed-out, angry and resentful, and all that can literally make you sick. It’s pretty simple – sometimes you just have to say “no”.
Can’t vs. Won’t
When you’re in a situation where you want to say no, the energy behind it can make all the difference. When you say “I can’t,” the implication is that something or someone else is determining your actions. It really doesn’t come from a place of power.
In reality, a can’t is more likely a won’t – you’re simply saying that you are choosing where to put your energy, and that it’s somewhere else right now. It is extremely empowering to stake your claim to your time and declare where you will and will not spend it. But before that becomes your truth, you’ll need to claim it for yourself.
Keep that in mind as you check out my 5 Favorite Ways to Say No:
#5 I’d love to help you, but not now.
This lets the other person know that what they are doing or asking is important to you. Perhaps you could ask if there is something else you could do to help that would work better for your schedule.
#4 I have a time conflict and have already committed to something/someone else.
Using the word commited does two really great things. It reminds you about your own integrity and it lets the other person know that when you do say yes to them, you will follow through. They may not have you now, but when they do, they’ll be able to count on you.
#3 My life is really full right now and tonight I’m going to be taking care of myself.
In the airplane, they always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first, THEN help your children or the other people around you. You have to take care of yourself to even have something to give to someone else. Whoever wants something from you now might feel a little inconvenienced in the moment, but will actually get a higher-quality you once they do get you!
#2 I wish there were more hours in the day. I’m not entertaining any new projects right now, but I’m honored you asked. Please keep me in mind for future projects.
Someone just told me that Kris Carr says this and I just LOVE it! You get to honor yourself, the other person and the project they are working on . . . and you get to say “no!”
and my number 1, absolute most favorite way to say no . . .
#1 No, thank you.
No drama, no story, no excuses. It can take a little bit of restraint, but try it and see how it works for you!
CALL TO ACTION
What other win-win ways do you say no? Please comment below to share your wisdom.
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Fay Jones is a Board Certified Acupuncturist and the author of When Stress Makes You Sick. Her undisputed favorite specialty is stress, stress-reduction and self-care. Passionate about teaching self-care practice, she believes this is our single most accessible tool for creating optimal health. . . and something that helps us show up and contribute in meaningful ways in our own lives and the lives of everyone we nurture. _______________________________________________________________________________________