I often have clients ask me: how do I say No?
Well, whenever a client is struggling in a relationship at home or at work or anywhere in their world - to say no, to set good boundaries - I first speak to them about codependency.
(See previous blog Am I Codependent?: www.zoewaggoner.com/blog-sacred-life-healing)
Once the client begins, hopefully with curiosity, to learn more about themselves and how all of this plays out, we can really begin to do some deeper work and even help the client learn to say NO!
Here are the steps that the inimitable Brene Brown brenebrown.com/ outlined in a talk I heard her give.
First, it is important that you think YOU are important enough to even consider saying NO! NO! Are you? If so, continue reading.
If someone asks you do to something, say:
1. "Thank you for asking. Let me think about it." If they persist, you persist: thank you for asking: let me think about it. ( In the old assertiveness training days it was called 'playing the broken record by saying the same thing over and over until the other person 'got it' and stopped. "Thank you for asking. Let me think about it." ) Give yourself some time to think about it: hours, days..???
2. THINK about it. If you said yes, would you end up resenting the task or the person who asked you? Would you be taking away from 'you time', from your family, your life? Your enjoyment? Your peace of mind? Would saying yes add to the stress in your life?
(Of course, the subtext here is 'will they like me if I say no'? See if...just see if you can let that go and ask about your quality of life and what you would lose/miss out on/enjoy IF YOU SAID YES.)
3. Go back to the person and either say YES with confidence you will not resent them or say NO because you are not willing to sacrifice what is important to you. Say: "thank you for asking me, but I am not going to be able to do...." or, "thank you for asking, I have to say NO." Once again, if they try to insist or bully you, stick to your message: "thank you for asking me and I am not going to be able to...." or "I have to say no."
I would suggest practicing this with some in your life who are particularly hard to say NO to. I had to practice this to be able to say NO to my Mom. She was insistent often and of course, I felt guilty if I said NO. However, I OFTEN resented whatever it was I ended up doing. It wasn't that I did not love my Mom or want to help her, but too often her requests could have been met by herself or my brothers, who lived much closer to her than I did. But she did not ask them - for a long time - because she wanted them to love her and not see her as helpless. And she knew I was a 'helper' and had a hard time saying NO. And she used her guilt and shaming statements to try and 'bully me' into saying yes.
It took me some time and eventually I learned to say NO to her. And she learned to ask my brothers - who wanted to help. And I regained my self-respect and quality of life. I said yes when I genuinely could help without knowing I would resent her - and myself ultimately - for not setting healthy boundaries.
Self-respect. Quality of life. Are those qualities important to you? If you need help saying NO - call me: 360-432-1236.