Mindful Monday: The Art of No


There are many books out there on why you should start saying yes to anything. That may be good advice for people who never take risks or who don’t deviate from their routines. However, if like me you are a Type-A person who loves to juggle multiple things at once you really do need to learn how to say no sometimes. Think about it even the most skilled juggler will eventually be thrown one ball too many and then BOOM…they all come crashing down on her head.

Now I like having lots of things going at once it’s what keeps me energized because I easily board. I tend to over do it sometimes though and that’s when I need to pull back and ask myself “Do I really want to take this on?” If the answer is yes then the next question is what am I willing to give up for it.

I don’t like to make gender generalizations because I certainly have male, female, transgender, and non-binary friends and family members who don’t fit into pigeon holes that society has fed us over the years. I will say that as a woman I have noticed that myself and many other of my female friends have this challenge. I can only speak for myself but, some of the reasons I have a hard time saying no are:

  1. I’m a people pleaser. I never want to disappoint anyone and I’m afraid if I say know especially to someone who I think of highly that they will think less of me.
  2. I’m curious by nature and love expanding my horizons. If someone offers me the opportunity to do something new or expand my breadth of knowledge, I’m going to jump at that chance.
  3. Sometimes I keep busy when I know something is bothering me as a way to avoid having to face it.

If you are a “yes person” like me one or more of these reasons might resonate with you. Maybe you have other reasons. Understanding why you always say yes is important but the challenge is figuring out what do you really want to say no to and what do you really want to say yes to.

I’m fortunate at work because I have a healthy work-life balance. I work hard and love what I do and I feel comfortable speaking up if I think there’s too much on my plate. I have certainly had other jobs where that wasn’t the case. I had one job where I once worked 15hour+ days for two weeks straight and felt guilty when I asked for a day off. I realize now that wasn’t a healthy environment and that was me at the height of my people pleasing.

For me right I’m trying to be better about not saying yes to every social invite I get. I love spending time with people and my friendships are important to me but, I would find I was skipping things that were important to me like going to a yoga class, finding time to clean my apartment, or having a chance to write an entry for this blog.

These days I try to schedule some me time for all of those other things that are important and make sure I leave at least one weeknight free and one weekend day for me to do my thing. I can’t always accommodate this but I do the best I can. I find it makes me better at the other aspects of my life because I can be there 100% if my basic needs are taken care of.

Are you a yes or a no person? What would you like to change?

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