Learning to Say "No"


I am a people pleaser. I hate to disappoint someone and often go out of my way to make sure I don't. But in recent years I have learned that the most important tool in my "staying healthy" bag is the word no.


We learn no at a very young age and it is typically not associated with anything good. Don't touch this, don't stay out late, don't eat that. Even Nancy Regan's 1980's campaign said: Just Say No. But how easy is that, really?


Not very. Often we are asked by friends or relatives to do something we don't want to, attend an event we don't have time for, or meetings that someone else can do. Finding ways to offset our absence can often help alleviate any ill feelings. A follow up note of apology, a gift even though we didn't attend an event, or perhaps an alternate suggestion of how to deal with the subject matter.


In James Altucher's book, The Power of No, he says, "When you say yes to something you don't want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself." With the world opening up and the pressures of life returning, this is a good time to remind ourselves that saying no is not being mean, it is protecting the one thing you can never get more of - your time.


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