We can get into a habit of saying yes just because our past self said yes. The question to ask is, “Is this still right for me?” Maybe at one time it was, but things can be different now. So what do you do?

You listen to your inner voice. It’s saying “Yes, do this” or “No, stay away from that.” Pay attention to the way your body feels. If your gut doesn’t feel right, your muscles tense up, or an unpleasant chill runs through you, that is your intuition saying beware and take heed. Evaluate these signs.

Questions are a wonderful clarification tool. When you query yourself, not only can you get solutions, but the response may surprise you. You can discover that there are multiple options. If you are saying yes to things that don’t feel right, then self-reflection questions can provide valuable insight.

Do I say yes to things I don’t want to do to please someone else? If so, why?

Will I feel guilty if I say no?

What will happen if I say no?

When I was young, I wanted to please people so they would like me. I used to say yes to requests and events that I didn’t want to do or attend just to please others. I thought they would be mad if I said no. Do you know what I found out? They really didn’t care. They were just asking. It was my own insecurities that lead me to false assumptions. We cannot accurately guess what others are thinking, so we shouldn’t presume.

But as I get older, and hopefully wiser, I realize that never saying no can be detrimental. It is about finding a balance. I can care what others think without giving up on my own needs.

Protect yourself by creating boundaries. That doesn’t mean you become self-centered. It’s just that you don’t drop everything and rearrange your entire schedule to accommodate someone else. It is okay to say no or give another option, like choosing another day to help or performing another activity. Release what does not work for you so you can open up the space to what does.

Yes, sometimes things come at inconvenient times, like helping a friend whose car breaks down and needs a ride while you are in the middle of cooking dinner. Stuff happens. The concern is when it happens all the time.

Give yourself permission to say no. Your time and energy are precious, so safeguard them. And remember, no is a complete sentence all by itself. Explanations or reasons are unnecessary. It’s okay to say no.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash.

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