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Saying no gracefully

saying no

Saying no is hard.

Lets just put that up there, straight away because we tell the truth here.

Anyone who tells you saying no is easy is either mean or rude or just plain doesn’t get out much.

OR they’re just talking about their husbands or kids and then, well yes, saying no IS easy!

My husband is always joking with our kids that their name is no. It seems like everything they ask gets a no these days. I’ve taken to asking them to please start asking questions that I can say YES to!

But aside from our husbands and kids, saying no IS hard!

Deep down inside most of us want to please. Even if that isn’t in a codependent or enabling-type of way and just a really encouraging and kind sort of way.

I believe most people are kind. Most people truly desire to help when they can.

But sometimes we can’t.

If we’re paying attention, sometimes our no is hurtful. Sometimes it leaves someone holding the bag. Maybe a bag they didn’t even want to hold to begin with because, well, they couldn’t say no.

But saying yes when we really want or need to say no leaves us over scheduled, over burdened, resentful and busy.

We’re revolting against that one thing for sure, this month. But I think a revolt against resentful is a good one, too.

It’s such a terrible feeling to carry and it crosses over into almost every aspect of our lives. Parenting, marriage, friendships, and our overall attitude are deeply affected by resentment. And resentment turns into bitterness, and bitterness to unforgiveness and a long list of problems spiral after that.

So we’re far better off just learning to say no from the start. I’m sorry but I can’t…maybe next time…thanks for asking!

Brene Brown says to “choose discomfort over resentment.” It’s become my mantra.

But how?

Here are a list of ideas and what they might sound like:

Apologize and ask for an alternative.

I’m so sorry I can’t, is there another way I can help?

Begin and end with positive affirmation.

This is such a great idea! I’m so sorry I can’t help this time, but please let me know when you do it again and I’d love to help. I’m so excited for you!

Ask for time to think about it.

Wow, that sounds really fun but I’m not sure if my schedule is open that day. Can I get back to you? When do you need to know?

Just say no.

I’m sorry but I just can’t.

{This is for those times when you just don’t want to help and know you’re only putting off the inevitable. Save everyone time and stress and just say no.}

Make a connection

You know I’m not able to help but have you met my friend “Jenny”? I think this might be something she would be really interested, let me check with her and let you know!

{And then make sure you ask your friend first so you don’t put her in the position of having to say an awkward no, or lose her as your friend for taking advantage of her!}

Saying no is hard and sometimes painful but the alternatives are far worse. Lying, resentment and bitterness are dead-end roads you don’t want to travel.

And overcommitting when your schedule is full only leads to chaos.

When we learn to say no we create healthy boundaries that people admire and respect. Even if no is hard but it’s the right decision, then it’s the right thing to do. Everyone appreciates an up front and honest answer about what we can and cannot do.

And that makes saying YES the next time that much sweeter.

You see, saying no can build a bridge to the next time when we can say a wholehearted yes.

And that is golden.

Today’s Challenge: Say NO to someone other than your husband or kids! Sometimes we have to practice saying no to some small things and then we get better at saying no to big things. Practice. Find something you can say a firm no to today. You might be surprised how strong it feels.

This is day 21 of our Revolt Against Busy Challenge! You can sign up and find the homepage right {here}.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Bren October 21, 2014, 6:05 pm

    I had been on a path of ‘yes’ with someone for years and had let it go on for far too long. When I finally said ‘no’, I gave her options of who to talk to, but she completely shut down. Her reaction later was pretty vengeful, and although I apologized for not being able to be there for her, and she has apologized for her reaction, I don’t think she has forgiven me, and I am still hurting deeply as well. How do you repair a relationship after a difficult, but long overdue ‘no’?

    • Tammy October 22, 2014, 12:58 am

      I think you need to just sit down and be honest. If she’s someone you can trust with your heart, then let her in. Tell her how you were hurt and why. Accept responsibility for your part. If the friendship is real it will weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side. If not, learn something that you could’ve never learned another way, and set her free from being responsible for how you feel. I believe every relationship is meant to teach us something about ourselves. Praying for you and your friend. xo

      • Bren October 22, 2014, 6:24 pm

        Thank you for the guidance. I do think she and I should sit down and be honest, but I am not ready yet. I really don’t know if I can trust her with my heart again, not yet, not now. I can’t handle any more damage just yet. In time, I will try. I will. Thank you for your prayers. I will pray on this, too, that she and I can mend and open up to each other again soon.

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