5 Reasons To Say ‘No’ And Not Feel Bad

Like you, I worry about letting people down.  Since I don’t want to disappoint anyone, I’ll often agree to things or say “yes” without having checked my calendar or learned all the details.

It’s a problem many moms face.  But I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to say ‘No’.

Sure, the other person may be disappointed at that moment, but they’ll get over it. And you’ll have your sanity.  I’ve been doing this for the past two years and I can’t tell you how liberating it has been.

What I found, too, was that those things I said ‘Yes’ to became fun again!  That when I looked at my list of WHO and WHAT is important, I could make decisions and not feel like I have to be everything to everybody.  And I want to share with you how you can empower yourself and not feel guilty saying ‘No’.

5 Reasons To Say ‘No’ And Not Feel Bad:

  1. They’re not in your Top 5 – If you have to bump someone from your Top 5 (or 10, you decide! That’s the beauty of this!) to say ‘yes’ then it better be good!  If it’s not a key priority for you, don’t sacrifice.  If it’s not a sacrifice and you truly want to say yes, then do so.  But saying ‘No’ is perfectly acceptable too.
  1. You would have to cancel ‘Me Time’ – Unless it’s an emergency, we deserve to have time to ourselves.  YOU are important.  You can’t do your best work if you’re stressed out!
  1. You don’t want to work/do/spend time with them – The reality is that there are some people I just don’t want to spend time with.  There are a million reasons, none of which are really important.  All that matters is that I would rather do almost anything else than spend my time with them.  Why would I spend time away from people I want to be with or doing something I want to do just because I don’t want to hurt their feelings?  I don’t feel bad, neither should you!
  1. Boundaries – Set boundaries and stick to ’em!  This is the hardest thing for me to do.  Knowing in advance where you would draw the line is very empowering.  That way when a situation comes up you can answer ‘No’ courageously.  And with courage, guilt can’t survive.
  1. You don’t have all the information– We often commit to thing without having enough information to make an informed decision.  We agree to chaperone the school field trip, not realizing it’s the same day as something else.  Put on the spot we’d rather say ‘Yes’ and be on our way instead of asking for more information and feeling like we’re burdening them with our questions.  Informed decisions are the best decisions!

Taking back control takes practice.  Those first few times you say ‘No’ may make you anxious, wondering if they won’t like you or if they’ll talk bad about you.  Remind yourself of YOUR priorities.  Being stressed out around those we truly want to spend time with is not good for anyone.  You don’t have to justify your decisions.  Be courageous!  Take back your time.

Say it with me: I honor myself, my time and those that truly matter to me!

[photo by Genna G]

Editor’s note: This post was written by Sara Hawkins, author of the Saving for Someday blog.

Posted on July 19, 2011, in Family, Me-Time, Mom Tips, Planning. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’ve been meaning to check out EnoughTimeMoms since yesterday night when I noticed it launched…would you believe that I didn’t have enough time? The site looks great, Congrats.

    Now for my comment: I love this article. It hits close to home for me as I have been working hard at saying no for about a year now. I still say yes sometimes, volunteering is part of who I am. In fact I often feel like I am saying ‘no’ to myself because I WANT to volunteer, but I have realized that I can’t do it all, so I pick & choose. What you said about not cancelling “ME time” is also so important. I have recently realized that “me time” is essential- not a “nice to have” and I have learned not to feel guilty about saying no to something that conflicts with the ‘me’ time in my agenda.

    I think this is great advice for moms. Thank you Sara & Enough Time Moms!

  2. Tanya,

    Thank you for your lovely comment. Volunteering is one of my ‘issues’ too! So much so that for my birthday a few years ago my best friend got me a coffee mug that says “Stop me before I volunteer again!”. Obviously, others see it too!

    As for the ‘me time’, I was pleasantly surprised that my husband was so supportive. So much so that he has actually coordinated dinner/movie for me and a friend because he knows I won’t really do it.

    So glad I could help reinforce the great self work you’re doing. Yes, it is work!



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