Jody Shield on the art of saying no
Saying no isn’t easy.
In fact, the very thought of it makes me wince. I’m not very good at saying no.
How do you feel about it?
Be honest with yourself. If someone says ‘no’ to you, how does it make you feel? It’s not very nice, is it?
Actually, it feels as if you’re being punished for something. From an early age, we’re pre-programmed with the belief that it’s much better that we say yes and go along with whatever Mummy/Daddy/teacher/babysitter wants us to do. “No” isn’t a word we should use. It’s bad to say no; no means trouble ahead.
When we say ‘yes’ and are good, we get a treat, a reward and love.
When we say ‘no’ and are naughty, we get punished, rejected or ignored.
It doesn’t feel good to say no, does it? I’d much rather say yes and get positive, good things, as opposed to being sent to the naughty corner for doing the opposite.
And yet, yes isn’t always the best way.
We might be doing good for others, but we are completely ignoring our own needs.
Saying yes to everything is the fastest way to drain our power, and deplete our energy in different ways:
Physically and mentally: running around from event to event, fulfilling other people’s plans, having too many things to think about, and no time to rest and recharge.
Spiritually and energetically: resistance from pushing against the natural flow of life, ignoring our spiritual guidance and using lots of energy to make things happen.
If your diary heaves with plans for other people and no time for yourself, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This is a major problem. When we don’t take care of ourselves, we can fall apart at the cost of pleasing others. And it’s not only our loved ones who suffer; we suffer too. When this happens, achieving the life we desire becomes an unrealistic dream.
We need to take back the power of saying no.
SAYING NO IS MORE LOVING THAN SAYING YES.
If you go along with something because you’re afraid to say no, you are not giving the other person enough credit. They will sense your lack of clarity and commitment, and feel an underlying resentment or negativity towards you. Even if they might not obviously react, they may feel it subconsciously.
When you say yes because you’re afraid to say no, the yes comes from a place of fear and not because you’re being loving towards the other person. In that moment you are not loving them or giving them the most truthful version of yourself.
Saying no is your most loving response and one that is the most authentic coming from you. Even if it means they express disappointment because you aren’t able to be a part of their plan, they will accept your no and understand it at some level.
TOO MUCH OF OUR TIME IS SPENT WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK.
If we didn’t care, saying no would be so much easier.
The fact is, we have no control over other people’s opinions and thoughts. There is no way to influence them; they will react based on their own belief systems and the programming they received in their childhoods. They might judge us, reject us or criticise us and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.
Coming to terms with this is an important step forward to reclaiming your life and maintaining your energy.
Most of us feel the fear each time we think about saying no. For some people, this is so great that the word is wiped from their vocabulary. They say yes straight away before they even venture towards a possible no.
Saying yes to people when we actually want to say no affects our self-confidence and lowers our self-esteem. We lose trust in ourselves, and our ability to make intuitive decisions. We are not honouring the truth of what we feel. We are not listening to our own wisdom and acting on it. Instead, we’re saying yes from a place of fear.
The trick is to learn how to read situations intuitively and make decisions according to our intuition. How does it feel if you think about saying yes? If you feel your body closing and tensing up, this isn’t serving you. Imagine if you said no: how would your body feel? If you sense your body opening and expanding, it’s better for you to say no this time. Practise responding according to your intuition and you will be reacting from a place of honesty that your family, friends and colleagues will respect.
TOOLS TO HELP YOU SAY NO:
1. BE HONEST. Grow some balls. Say no, and tell the person concerned exactly why. Tell them you don’t like going to museums, or you don’t enjoy getting hammered any more, or you feel socially anxious around that particular group of friends. Whoever is on the receiving end will admire you much more for being honest.
2. PRACTISE SAYING NO. Use a mirror to help support you with this. Pick an event or a request you have to respond to, and practise talking to the person concerned, telling them why you are not able to attend. Be honest and let them know that you’re very grateful for the invitation, but that you need a rest and time to recharge.
3. NO FROM THE HEART. Speaking from the heart raises the energy and vibration of the whole conversation. When you speak from your heart, you are speaking from your most authentic self and people will receive it as such. You cannot lie from your heart. Tell them no, and tell them why. Be honest and let them know that they are amazing to spend time with but that you need the time for yourself right now. You’ll feel empowered when you walk away. They will feel loved, even though you’re saying no.