Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 9 - Just say no!

One of the smallest yet most powerful things we can learn in our adult lives is how to say “no.” It seems simple, right? In fact say it now: “No!” Whether you said it out loud or in your head, I’m sure the task was not a hard one. And yet when it comes to real life, many of us find it extremely difficult.
Why is that?
There are a variety of reasons… fear of hurting someone’s feelings, fear of letting someone down, fear of being written off if you say “no” too much; or some people feel guilty when they tell others “no” etc. As Christians in particular, we are prone to feeling bad if we can’t go out of our way to be as helpful as possible to everyone. There is also a theory being researched right now that the reason people over-commit is because they believe sometime in the future they are going to have a surplus of time; unfortunately, though, as each day passes the “yes” of yesterday becomes the “yes” of today and it’s impossible to catch up. In other words, there are tons of reason we say “yes” when we should really say “no.”
Have you ever asked yourself these questions: Why do people always take advantage of me? Why do I never seem to have time for myself? Why am I always giving more to relationships than I am getting in return?
There are some serious ramifications to being unable or unwilling to say “no.” For starters, fatigue. If we are constantly over-committing ourselves and running around like a chicken with our heads cut off, we can become overly tired. When do take time for ourselves? When do we pursue our own growth? When do we relax, journal, read, take a bubble bath, work out etc.? These self-care activities may appear selfish when there is so much else going on, but without them you won’t be able to complete all of the activities you are agreeing to at full capacity. Another potential ramification is resentment. Many people who are constantly doing for others but neglecting their own necessities are prone to becoming resentful of the friends and family who expect so much of them. This can lead to depression, anxiety, relational strain etc. It is easy to take advantage of a “yes man” who is always dependable and you know will quit whatever they are doing to help.

What it comes down to really is an issue of personal boundaries. Boundaries are not only meant to keep the toxic out of our lives but they are also meant to protect us and ensure that we are not giving out more than we have the capacity to provide. When we have good boundaries we have a strong sense of our own identity and we understand that sometimes people are going to be disappointed in us and that’s okay. We recognize when we’re being taken advantage of and are willing to take a stand against such treatment.

So the bottom line is: Saying “no” is just as valuable as saying “yes” but for different reasons. Learning how and when to say it can be an incredibly valuable relational tool. 
If you’re reading this thinking, “I can totally relate,” here are some resources I recommend to learn more about this topic:

Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I have a hard time saying no sometimes, too. this is a great post.