Yes I am available, yes I can help, yes I can drop / collect the kids, yes I can do that extracurricular activity, yes I can help out, yes I can keep the home going, yes I can keep food in the fridge, yes I can have it all, yes I am successful, yes I have my sh** together!
Sound familiar? I am referring to all the yes’s, but is the reality something different? When we ‘yes’ all the time, in doing so, we are also saying ‘no’ to something else.
No to self-care, no to my personal wants, needs, desires. No to things that excite, delight and invigorate? Of course, they are not mutually exclusive, and everything is a choice. Can you take a minute or two right now to re-read the start of this article, connect with your sub-conscious and come up with a figure, between 1 and 10 of where you are on the ‘yes-man’ scale?
- What is the number?
- How does it feel?
- How much choice to do feel around the decisions you are making?
- Is there balance?
There will always be times when, for one reason or another, you need to give 100% of your attention to a particular situation, an event, a deadline, a friend or family member in need but bringing awareness to your default thought process is a worthwhile exercise.
If you can take a pen and paper and jot down the answers to the questions above, perhaps you can elaborate a little to acknowledge when the balance is not right, what goes on for you when asked to help/do/take on extra load.
- Do you feel sorry for the other person?
- Do you like to help?
- Do you like to feel needed?
- Would you feel guilty if you didn’t say yes?
- Are you just not comfortable in saying ‘no’?
- Do you like to show the world you have got your sh** together, so of course say yes?
(Aside: No one will read these answers, be honest with yourself! Have another go if you have to 😉)
Whatever the reasons, pouring from an empty cup simply is not sustainable. Continuing down this path can be dangerous, as it can affect your physical, mental and social wellbeing.
You need to look after YOURSELF, you need to be your number 1 priority. What is the overall benefit of that? You will be in control or your destiny, you will make choices that support your priorities, you will lead and productive, exciting, and carefree life. Nice, eh?
Looking after yourself first will allow you the time, space and energy when required and when YOU make the choice to help / support / encourage others.
So perhaps, just for today, you also jot down some ideas on what might also work for you to protect your energy when defaulting to the all too common ‘yes’.
I have noted some of my top tips, perhaps they can support you also.
- Practice makes perfect. Start with the easier ‘no’ and gradually grow confidence around the bigger ‘no’.
- You have a choice. If you say ‘yes’ to the request, what are you saying ‘no’ to?
- Buy yourself time. Do not commit immediately, give yourself space to make the choice. Using language like ‘that’s really interesting, let me think about it and come back to you’ or in a work situation you might say something like ‘Yes, I would love to help out but spending time on x will mean y will not be possible’.
- List your priorities. Bringing them into conscious awareness will allow you to compare the request against your priorities.
- See the good in saying ‘no’. See it as an opportunity to do something good, to focus on what makes you happy, moving the focus from ‘letting the other person down’.
- Do not fear the outcome. Once you have made your decision, move on, chances are they already have!
I hope you will find the exercise useful, I’m always interested to hear your feedback firstname.lastname@example.org or take a minute to add a comment below.
Take care, and allow the world be your oyster! M x