One very important aspect of self leadership is the ability to say ‘no’!

I used to suffer from the disease of people pleasing. And believe me, I paid too high a price for nothing! I tried too hard to make other people happy at the cost of my own happiness.

This is a great story about where people pleasing might lead to:

A married couple was returning from the funeral of Uncle George, who had lived with them for twenty years and had been such a nuisance that he almost succeeded in wrecking their marriage. “There is something I have to say to you, dear,” said the man. “If it hadn’t been for my love for you, I wouldn’t have put up with your Uncle George for a single day.” “My Uncle George!” she exclaimed in horror. “I thought he was your Uncle George!”
― Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight

We tolerate too many ‘Uncle Georges’ in our lives, thinking we are making other people happy. The reality is that later on these very same people might resent us for making them dependent on us.

My ability to say ‘no’ without guilt is still a work in progress. But I’m getting there. I’m learning to say ‘no’ to what my heart tells me not to do; to say ‘no’ when I’m doing something only out of a sense of obligation; to say ‘no’ when it means putting my legitimate needs before someone else’s. I’ve also learned that when I say ‘no’, I don’t owe the other person an explanation.

When you start truly valuing yourself, you learn not to feel guilty about saying ‘no’, because as author Duke Robinson says, “Saying yes when you need to say no causes burnout. You do yourself and the person making the request a disservice by saying yes all of the time.”

Sometimes “No” is the kindest word. ― Vironika Tugaleva

Action steps:

  • Pick one person who constantly makes demands on your time or resources.
  • Spend a few minutes analysing why you find it hard to say ‘no’ to this person. What will the consequences of your ‘no’ be?
  • Write a letter to this person (don’t send it to her) telling her why you no longer want to say ‘yes’ to her.
  • Practice a few sentences to say ‘no’ that don’t contain an explanation. For example, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”, “I’m sorry, I don’t have the time to ….” , the simple “No, thank you” and the most assertive of all, “No, I don’t want to…”

Learn to say ‘no’ to others and ‘yes’ to yourself!

saying no
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Today I’m on ‘N’ of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is the A to Z of Self Leadership. I’m also undertaking the NaBloPoMo for April – the theme is ‘grow’ and the Ultimate Blog Challenge