Think about a time when you needed to say NO to someone or something. Maybe you had to cancel a service or didn’t feel like attending a family gathering.
How did it make you feel to say NO? Were you able to do it? Or did you force yourself, against your wishes and your instincts, to suck it up and give in?
People pleasers are often very good listeners. We are content to observe and let others take the spotlight. We go where we are needed and are always at the ready to fill the gap. It’s a passive role that gives others the power.
When we are ready to take control of our time, energy, and money, we must become a more active participant in our own lives. It’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory, but necessary if we want to start putting our needs first.
Stating our wishes takes practice, but the more we do it, the easier it becomes. Before we can communicate what we want, we must know our own minds. Steps one and two in the Thoughtfully Selfish process are designed to set us up for success.
Step 1- Clarify Your Values and Priorities: What are my values? What are my priorities? What is important to me?
Step 2 – Create Healthy Boundaries: What is my plan? What am I going to do? What am I going to stop doing?
The third step in the process is: Communicate With Confidence.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Communicating our desires tells others that we are serious about what we believe, and we are standing for what we need.
Will others be disappointed? Yes. Will some people get angry? Yes. Will they try to manipulate us so they can maintain control? Hell yes!
We must expect and prepare for those possibilities.
It’s okay if they are disappointed. We are not responsible for other people’s feelings. We are responsible for our own well-being.
So how do we begin to Communicate With Confidence?
Here are some helpful tips:
TELL THE TRUTH, BUT LEAVE OUT THE DETAILS
There’s nothing worse than being caught in a lie. Always be truthful, but you don’t need to provide a lengthy explanation. Your choice is your own business. You don’t owe anyone a reason or justification for your decisions. You can share as much or as little detail with the person as you feel necessary. If it’s a close friend or relative, you may want to give a little more information or explanation.
Example: No, I have another commitment.
TAKE TIME TO GIVE YOUR ANSWER
Sometimes you need a little time to process and think about your circumstances. Don’t feel pressured into giving a response if you are not ready. Tell them you will check your schedule, or you need a few days to think, and you’ll get back to them with an answer. Make sure you respectfully get back to them and communicate your decision.
Example: I will get back to you tomorrow after I check my calendar.
BE RESPECTFUL AND FIRM
If you are wishy-washy, or unsure of your NO, people will see that as an opportunity to persuade you into a yes. Avoid negotiation and manipulation by stating your decision clearly and decisively. No means no.
Example: I have already allocated my donations for this year. I wish you good luck in your campaign.
Give yourself permission to choose YOU.
Practice makes perfect. When you start to say NO, you will probably feel some guilt. That’s okay! You are reprogramming yourself to put your needs first. Change takes time. It may be a shock to others. Just remember what is important to you and stick to your plan.
Think about a person or situation where you need to say NO. Practice some phrases that will help you communicate with confidence.