I used to be that person who always wanted to say yes. I genuinely enjoy people and like making them happy. If I can put a smile on someone’s face, that’s usually the highlight of my day. As a result, I’ve found myself saying too many yeses’ for my own good, and this created a myriad of problems for me and drained the joy out of activities that used to make me happy.
Over the years, I’ve come to understand that saying no is often as important as saying yes. Here are 7 lessons that have stood out for me:
- Easy is not always best. If you just say yes because it’s easy and saying no would be hard, you’ll put incredible strain on your time, energy and resources.
- Saying no empowers you. Being a leader begins with personal leadership. If you don’t learn to handle the reins of your life, how will you ever lead someone else effectively?
- Self-awareness is good for you. When you understand why you’re saying no, you become more comfortable with saying it, and you’re able to say it more honestly. For instance when someone asks me to take on a new project and I already have my hands full, or an author sets a deadline that’s too close, I let them know I would rather not sacrifice quality; which is what would happen if I say yes and then attempt to rush the process.
- You can say no and still be helpful. One great way to say no is “I can’t do this, but I can do that for you instead.” Also, recommending someone else who can be of help, or who would even be better at the task than you, is a good way to say no.
- Saying no is part of loving yourself. You can’t truly love others without loving yourself first. Be kind to yourself and learn to say no.
- You are a limited resource. You are a finite being. Your capacity, (be it emotional, relational or physical), is finite. You can only do so much. That’s why it’s absolutely important for you to learn how to say no, so that you can reserve your energy for your best and highest use. If you don’t learn to say no, you will find yourself drained, stressed out and exhausted. Between work, church, family and friends, it’s all too easy for your energy to run out. If you don’t understand that you’re a limited resource, you’ll end up overcommitted and your quality of life will never improve.
- Saying no is honouring your existing commitments. You already have obligations, thanks to many yeses’ by which you have committed yourself. Before you dole out another yes, ask yourself if it’s fair to those you’ve already said yes to.
Saying no is part of a healthy lifestyle. Get comfortable with it.
Feature Image: elegantblackwoman.blogspot.com