How many times have you heard yourself say this?
And I bet you wish you could say that little word. To those requests that take your time, that you don’t really feel like doing but you say ‘yes’ to anyway.
How much do you enjoy those activities you agree to with such reluctance? How much resistance or resentment is there in your system when you do them?
I get it. I used to think I couldn’t say no either. I ended up working countless hours, many nights, felt SUPER frustrated, annoyed, RESENTFUL, exhausted, overwhelmed with everything I’d promised to do. I didn’t love my life. The worst was, I didn’t think I could change anything.
One day, a question from a colleague stopped me in my tracks. I had SO MUCH to do. As usual. This time, I was in tears. I couldn’t see a way out of the mess. I felt trapped.
“Liesel, WHO gave you all this work?”, she asked.
I had to sit quietly and take that in. I knew, suddenly. It was ME. I had volunteered for every single piece of it. I was feeling ‘noble’ at the time, rescuing other people, thinking I could do it better or smarter.
That day I GOT it. I was doing this to myself. I made changes, took a few things off my plate. I could breathe again.
Until the NEXT time I found myself in a similar, extremely tight spot. That was on an NLP course where I was again confronted with this pattern – and how I perpetuate it – in TECHNICOLOUR.
Once and for all I got that if I wanted to make permanent changes, I was going to have to be totally honest with myself about all the patterns running ME under the surface. I couldn’t treat the symptoms anymore, take a few things off my plate, and then repeat the same old behaviour again. I’d have to find the ROOT CAUSES (all of them) and start making changes from the inside out.
Does this feel familiar?
First, you have my empathy. Big compassion. It can be a painful repetitive pattern.
Second, there are solutions! Take heart. You CAN say no. You currently FEEL like you can’t, because it’s been ingrained in you. On some levels it doesn’t feel safe, you’re scared you’ll annoy someone, or there will be conflict, or someone won’t love you anymore, or someone will think badly of you, or you’ll disappoint or hurt someone. Or a number of other reasons.
Here’s what you need to do to learn to say no:
- Work on clearing the beliefs in your subconscious mind that are telling you it’s not a good thing to say no. Probably 95% of the “I can’t say no” feeling is EMOTIONAL. Internal messages and beliefs that it’s not okay. You can work on those subconscious beliefs with a tool like EFT or The Sedona Method, or TAT. Anything to clear up the emotional charge around events in the past that told you it’s not safe.
- There are ways to say no that are compassionate, respectful and easy. Sometimes we need to learn a SKILL after we’ve overcome the emotional reluctance to do it. I’ve found around 21 ways to say ‘no’ to a request in a way that keeps the communication channels open, and lets you AND the other person feel good.
- Have compassion, patience and love for yourself on the journey. Even with the best of intentions to change, you will make mistakes and think “I did it AGAIN”. That’s completely normal. Changing patterns take patience, persistence, compassion and love. And a whole lot of forgiveness.
How would it be for YOU to be able to say “YES!” when you REALLY want to, and “No, thank you, not now” with no drama, and be totally okay with either answer? What freedom could that bring? How would that change your life?
I’m here to let you know that the thought “I can’t say no” IS NOT TRUE. It’s a thought for you right now that might FEEL true. There’s a difference.
For a free 30 minute “You CAN Say No” Assessment, book here.
We’ll identify some of the root causes, and your next few steps to change it, so that you can have FREEDOM again, and say yes only when you really want to. Without the guilt.
Liesel helps sensitive introverts to see their sensitivity as a superpower, love their work and practice awesome self-care so they can be energized and make a difference in a meaningful and fulfilling way. She helps them to overcome the fear of being visible, avoiding the spotlight and conflict, being ‘too nice’, perfectionism and procrastination.
She’s the author of “No Problem. The Upside of Saying No”, which is a handbook for those who struggle to say no, are overwhelmed and exhausted.
Click here to read about the book.