I recently surveyed more than 600 Utah women and found that 60 percent say they take on more commitments than they can handle, and 68 percent reported they don’t say “no” when asked to do something they don’t want to do. There are so many demands on your time and energy that saying “no” is crucial to your emotional well-being.
Why is it hard to say “no”?
In my therapy office and in my workshops I often hear women they don’t say “no” because:
“I don’t want to disappoint others.”
“I should be able to do it all.”
“I want to help.”
“If I say ‘no’ I feel guilty.”
“I want to please others.”
“I feel pressured by others.”
“No” is an important boundary -It shows that you are a separate person with your own thoughts, feelings and desires. Saying “no” acknowledges that you are different from others and that your voice does matter.
“No” prevents burnout – Saying “no” and setting limits allows you to prevent feeling overwhelmed and becoming overcommitted. We have to pick and choose where to invest our time, energy and other resources. A wise workshop participant commented, “When I say ‘no’ I’m saying ‘yes’ to something more important.”
“No” helps you get what you want – It is an expression of your sense of self. If you know what you don’t want to do, you can identify what you do want.
Tips For Saying “No”
1) Accept that you have limitations
Everyone has limits to what they want to and can accomplish. It’s simply part of being human. Many women feel bad about having limitations of time, energy and prior commitments, just to name a few.2) “No” is an honorable response
Saying “no” means telling your truth. If you allow yourself to say “no” when you mean it, others will trust that when you say “yes” you also mean it and will follow through.3) You owe no one an explanation
If you give your week’s schedule, or the reasons why you are saying “no”, you open up the door for others to rearrange your schedule to accommodate their request, or to discount or argue with your reasoning. While I find it difficult to simply say “no” followed by an awkward silence, I really like the phrase “No, that’s just not going to work for me” because it softens the “no” without actually giving an explanation.
Click HERE to read more about why “no” is important and for tips to help you say “no”
(I’m reposting this one because I FINALLY go the video clip added)
Studio 5 Contributor and Self & Family Expert Julie Hanks, LCSW shares ways to continue your personal growth and rediscover your passion without leaving your life to travel the world.
Eat, Pray, Love…at Home
Taking a year out of your life and traveling the world to rediscover yourself, like Elizabeth Gilbert in her best-selling memoir turned blockbuster movie Eat Pray Love, is hardly realistic for me and for most women I know. Yet, there is something about Liz’s quest to reconnect with herself and to rediscover her passion for life that resonates with millions of moviegoers. I believe its possible to continue the journey of personal development while remaining committed to family relationships, and without traveling to exotic destinations.
Tips to Eat Pray Love…at Home:
1-Venture out of your comfort zone
Liz: â€œI used to have this appetite for life and itâ€™s just gone!â€ â€œI want to go someplace where I can marvel at something!â€ (Eat Love Pray, 2010).
If you feel numb, shut down, or on emotional “autopilot” try stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new, uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Try a new restaurant or a new sport. Extend yourself to someone outside of your circle of friends. If you like to read fiction, read non-fiction. You don’t have to travel to an exotic destination to get a new perspective on life.
From a man’s perspective…Steven Kapp Perry, radio host & father of 4 got out of his comfort zone by “climbing King’s Peak with my boys (twice) and I’m afraid of heights. I could go on. I think everything good about my life has come from venturing out of whatever my comfort zone used to be. It’s a lot bigger place these days.”
2-Savor your senses
Liz: â€œIâ€™m having a relationship with my pizzaâ€. This is my no Carb left behind experiment.â€ (Eat Love Pray, 2010).
Are you trapped in a routine of checking off tasks and making schedules? If so, try tuning into your senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound. The ability to savor your own experience, no matter how small, adds dimension and increases positive feelings of pleasure. Focus on how it feels to be in your body, the wonderful smell of your favorite pizza, the warm touch of a friend’s hand on your shoulder, the beautiful sunset…
In my psychotherapy practice with women, many clients express that they have lost the enjoyment in physical intimacy. I think this is in part because they have become so good at tuning into their loved ones needs and emotions that it becomes difficult to â€œswitch gearsâ€ and focus on their own senses; a requirement for fulfilling sexual experiences.
Liz: â€œOk, Simply empty your mind. Youâ€™re going to sit here for an hour of your life and youâ€™re not moving, why is this so hard…â€ (Eat Love Pray, 2010) .
Focus attention solely on the present moment and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions without judgment. Take a few minutes each day to quiet your mind and see what comes up. Relaxation, meditation, yoga, prayer, and many other spiritual practices provide health and mental health benefits, and have even been shown to improve your relationships.
Jennie M., wife and mother of three boys advises: “Take time to focus on things that matter most to us and try to have a good balance. For me it is running. My husband supports me and watches our 3 boys while I go run 30 – 60 minutes. It’s my time to get out think, pray, re-focus, and have time to myself.”
4-Listen to your inner voice
Liz: â€œI need to change. Since I was fifteen Iâ€™ve either been with a guy or breaking up with a guyâ€Â (Eat Love Pray, 2010).
It’s easy to let the voices, needs, opinions, and expectations of others drown out your own voice, just as Liz experienced in Eat Pray Love. If your gut says you need a break, or need more time with friends, or need to rest, listen and ask for your needs to be met. Longings, dreams, thoughts and feelings are clues to what you need in order to continue your personal growth.
Jennie G., wife and stay-at-home mother of five says: “Learn to trust that inner voice. If it tells you that you really need a night out with a friend, do it! If you need to start a new book, buy one. If you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself, go serve someone else. If you want to learn something new, sign up for a class. I think each of us know what we need, we’re just too scared or not used to listening to that inner voice that will guide you to exactly what it is you need. The trick is to listen, and know that you are worth listening to!”
Women often complain about their husband’s lack of help or enthusiasm for the holiday preparations. Husband’s are often puzzled about why wives get so stressed out about shopping, decorating, and baking. Here’s why women get stressed and solutions to get your man to help with the festivities.
1-Women feel responsible for the “intangibles” of family life (e.g. maintaining relationships, fulfilling family expectations, setting mood & tone, giving meaning to family traditions, a sense that they are adding value)
Get your man to help by…Sharing what your holiday traditions mean to you. (“It’s important to me to keep in touch with friends and family through sending yearly Christmas cards.” “Baking cookies reminds me of holidays with my grandmother and helps me feel connected to her.”)
Â 2-Women want to fulfill their own & other’s expectations
Get your man to help byâ€¦ listening to your husband’s feedback that challenges your assumptions about the way things “should be”. Allow your spouse to help you find more realistic expectations. (“Maybe we don’t need to send out Christmas cards every year. Maybe every other year would be fine.” “Do we really have to make homemade gifts for the entire neighborhood?”)
3-Women feel like they should be able to “do it all” & have difficulty asking for help
Get your man to help byâ€¦ Ask for help directly, specifically, & with a time frame. ( “Will you help put labels on the Christmas cards by the end of the weekend?” “Will you be in charge of buying gifts for Brooke & Darin this year?” )