Absolutely in most situations No means No.
However, there is one kind of situation where saying No actually means Yes and in a very powerful, positive way. It’s when you’re setting your boundaries and making it very clear to yourself, and others, what you are and are not prepared to do or to allow happen.
Whilst it can be very tempting to say Yes to lots of things – whether that’s a project your boss has asked you to take on (in addition to your ‘normal’ job), an invitation for a night out with friends or taking on a role in your child’s school’s PTA committee – it can actually become more of a habit that you find yourself reacting on auto pilot and saying Yes, rather than something that you actually take time to think about in the moment and respond according to how you truly feel.
If you find yourself doing things but feeling negatively about them – whether resenting it impacting on your own time and needs or wishing you were somewhere else doing something different – then it may be time to start thinking about what it is you’d rather be doing and why you said Yes to something you actually didn’t want in the first place.
Was it from a sense of duty? Misplaced or otherwise.
Have you been people-pleasing, afraid of what others will think of you if you say no?
Perhaps it’s as simple as not having given much thought before to what you actually want? And so, whilst you’ve been happily going with the flow, doing things that others ask or suggest, you’re starting to realise that time is slipping away and now you want to start focusing on discovering what makes you feel good. What you want to do and how you want to do it?
Whatever your reasons, there’s no better time than the present to start looking inwards and understanding who you really are, what you want for yourself/your life/your loved ones and how you can start making the changes needed to make those things happen. Because until you get clear on these things and understand where your boundaries are, it’s very easy to just ‘go with the flow’ and say yes to anything that pops up, whether it serves you or not.
And so, saying No to others’ demands on your time/energy/effort can be saying Yes in a very loving way to your own needs and wants.
When I work with my clients, whether individuals, small business owners or executives, one perspective that comes up time and again, typically when addressing time and energy management, or setting their goals for the coming period, is the belief that if they don’t say Yes to others’ demands on their time (be that their boss, their team or family members) then they’re letting the side down; X won’t happen if they don’t do it. And yet, trying to do everything for everyone, or pleasing everyone else, can not only be exhausting, physically, mentally and emotionally, for the one doing it, it can also be very disempowering for others.
Have you ever noticed when you’ve asked someone else to do something, whether to help you out on a project or to hang the washing out, and perhaps while asking you anticipated some push-back, dreading that they’re going to dislike being asked, not want to do it and yet found that once the task has been completed, there’s been a positive outcome for them personally? Maybe it’s helped developed their skills. Perhaps they made some great new connections through it, or simply that they’ve felt needed and got a real boost from that?
A core need of humans is to feel needed and that they belong
And so by trying to do everything yourself, you could actually be taking away an opportunity for another person to feel part of something and that they have something of value to contribute.
I find that looking at things from this perspective can be very empowering – for all involved.
No one can serve from an empty cup…
…so to be authentic, act in integrity and be sure you have enough juice in the batteries to look after others in the way that you want to, you need to ensure that your own needs are met first.
Rather than being selfish, it’s the complete opposite. By maintaining your own boundaries, and therefore energy reserves, you’re ensuring that you have enough in the tank for when the next request is made and you get to choose whether you’re the right one to fulfil it and can give of your time/energy/love or whether someone else is better in that instance.
Plus, when you say No to the things that don’t feel right, that don’t help move you towards the things you really want, then it leaves more room for you to say Yes to the right things!
Things that fill you with joy.
Opportunities to take you to the next level in your career.
Chances to explore new places and cultures.
Time to rest, reflect and fill your tank up.
Whatever it is you want!
I’ve had my own experiences of this, of being a people-pleaser, wanting to help out however I could and always wanting to give +100% all the time. And yet, after doing this for decades, saying Yes to too many things and giving so much of myself all the time, it contributed to me suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, adrenal fatigue and fibromyalgia. The emotional drain of not wanting to let others down impacted on me and led to the very physical manifestations of illness.
And I’m still a work in progress, because helping others is a key part of who I am, plus I don’t want to change in terms of the wonder & curiosity, the sense of adventure when jumping at new opportunities that present themselves!
I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to heal all of the symptoms and conditions relating to this, using the very potent energy healing I’ve been further developing since going through a Spiritual Awakening and Evolvement to 5th Dimension Earth living, and now am helping others to do the same (read more here if interested…)
However, I’ve also learned to be more discerning in what I agree to, in what I take on. I connect in with my soul and understand whether something would be right for me or not. I pay attention to how my energy feels when doing things, or reflecting on them afterwards, to help me to make even better choices going forward.
When you Know yourself at that deep, soul level and can recognise and understand the influences that choices have on you, it makes it so much easier to make decisions in the moment that keep you aligned to who you are, what you want and therefore being the very best version of you – for you and those who are important to you. And what could be better than that?!
Start Saying Yes to You!
Here’s an exercise you can do very easily to help you start to recognise what’s working for you and where you may want to start saying No – to begin saying Yes to you!
- Take 30 minutes to sit in a quiet space.
- Get out your diary and start to review how you spent your time over the past week/month.
- How did each activity/task make you feel? Were you glad you did it? What benefits did you gain from doing it? Were there any negative aspects to doing it? On reflection, if the need for that activity/task were to re-occur, would you do it again?
- Make a note of any activities that had more negative impacts than positive for you and if these are things that need to be repeated going forward, think of ways that they can either be done differently, be removed from your to do list or passed to someone else to complete.
- Repeat steps 2-4 for the coming week/month. What engagements have you got that deep down you don’t truly want/need?
- Throughout the coming week, notice when you’re saying Yes to things and ask yourself why; is it really something that you want to do? Need to do? Can someone else do it? Does it need to be done when asked for (per someone else’s agenda) or can it be rescheduled to a more convenient time?
If you carry out this simple exercise, after just a month you might be amazed at how much more time and energy you’ll find you have to spend how you want to!
Let me know what you’ve noticed and what new things you’ll be saying Yes to now, I’d love to hear! Post in the comments below.
And if you want to explore this even further, going into a deep level of connection with yourself and managing any stress or anxiety that you may be feeling right now with your To Do list, I’m offering my self-study course Self Care for the Overwhelmed Woman at just £47!
It’s an easy to follow, step-by-step guide designed especially to enable you to make changes in your life with minimal effort but maximum impact, so it won’t feel like ‘just another thing to add to your to do list’! Through powerful techniques, including hypnosis and mindfulness audios, this helps you to create the time and space mentally, physically and emotionally to start transforming your life from chaos to calm…so you feel on top of everything and on track for success! Click here for more information and to purchase your copy at this great offer rate!