I have caught myself this week practicing some old type of behavior, I thought I already got rid of in my life but… old habits die hard. I didn’t want to do something and came up with a list of excuses, why I can’t do it. Only when I was actually explaining the complexity of the situation to my friend, who asked me for a favor, I realized what I’m doing & I said to myself: Stop the excuses! Easy to say! But how?!
Most women are not great at saying ‘no’. When we do, some of the more polite societies call us ‘assertive’, other, less polite ones, ‘rude’. We want to be polite, we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, we don’t want people to think bad about us… As a result we don’t say ‘No I can’t bake a cake for the school tea party because I don’t feel like it‘ but come up with an excuse, even more likely two, why it is not possible for us to do it. Yes, the effect is the same but how this sort of behavior makes us feel? Most likely, like we don’t have control over our life, like we have to work around somebody, like we have to hide and play instead of being ourselves…
So what’s the solution?
First of all, you have to understand, accept & come to terms with the fact that you don’t have to explain yourself to EVERYBODY! Most people don’t care and the rest is not worth it. Perhaps you should only give real reason, why you can’t do something, to people who you actually care about and who are important to you? To the rest, it’s enough to say ‘No, thank you‘ or ‘No, not this time‘ or ‘No, this doesn’t work for me.‘ No because… . If you feel strongly that you’d like to help but simply have no energy you might offer to help to find a solution (but you don’t have to do it).
Second of all, practice saying no. The more often you say it, the more comfortable you feel doing it, especially, if it has never been your strength. Start with small things & practice daily. You don’t have to say no to everything but you also don’t have to jump at every request of your children, partner, parents, neighbors, work colleagues… They will survive, they will find a way. But please remember to do it in a loving, calm way. No shouting or threatening. You have the right to decide how you spend your time, so you don’t have to fight for it. You can communicate it from a confident, loving place.
My sister says that people will always try how far they can push you. They will try. They will try hard (especially kids;)). Only you can set your boundaries, only you can let them know what is and what isn’t OK. You are the Queen of your realm & the Queen doesn’t have to explain herself to everybody, so stop the excuses, just say no, like a Queen:)