I’m sure this isn’t news to you, but sometimes we have a difficult time saying no. “No” is arguably the most powerful word in the dictionary. But we can’t seem to utter it when we need it most.
My take—the biggest reason for this is guilt. We put such high expectations on ourselves to be everything for our families and others and we don’t want to let anyone down. We’re people pleasers by nature. So we say yes every time we’re asked to bake cupcakes or go on a field trip or teach Sunday school at the last minute. We also say yes when someone asks us to give away our products and services for free.
You know the routine. You reluctantly agree to coordinate the talent show at the elementary school. And because you are an amazing woman, you put on the most organized and entertaining show ever. Then what happens? You are nominated to do it again the following year. And the year after that. And the year after that. This would not be a problem if you actually enjoyed it. But over time, your enthusiasm for the project diminishes and you’re left feeling obligated and resentful.
We bring this kind of torture on ourselves, you know. Nobody can force us to say yes in the first place. By saying yes and doing a great job, we establish a reputation as dependable and hard working. And this has the unwelcome side effect of attracting more “opportunities” to shine in the same way.
When we take on too many things, we don’t leave any space for ourselves. We don’t have any time to fulfill our life purpose. We don’t leave room to grow, to breathe and simply… to be. Imagine how it would feel to eliminate that one thing that is zapping all your personal energy right now! To freely and completely do what God is calling you to do without getting distracted by everyone else’s requests and expectations.
So, in the spirit of creating space in your life for growth and happiness, I hereby give you permission to say no to anything that no longer serves you, your family or God. Anything that is not truly in alignment with your values and goals. And the best part is that you can say no without guilt, because we are behind you, sister!
This means you are free to say “No” to:
Volunteer work that doesn’t clearly support your values and goals;
Email forwards that annoy you or distract you;
Social invitations that are not in alignment with your values -- or that distract you from achieving goals that are in alignment with your values;
Clients or customers who don’t leave you feeling great about who you are and how you serve the world;
Toxic relationships including friends and family who are negative, emotionally draining or abusive;
Conversations that leave you feeling bad about yourself;
The idea that someone else is better at what you do;
Any community service project that you can’t embrace with a happy heart;
Pro-bono work or bartering that does not fill your emotional piggy bank;
The attachment to other people’s opinions of your choices;
Annoying Facebook posts or games;
Answering your cell phone every time it rings;
Returning phone calls and emails immediately;
Birthday parties, afterschool activities, sports or events that you deem unnecessary or are simply too much to handle logistically;
Sending birthday cards to everyone you’ve ever met;
Contributing to every charity that you’ve ever been asked to support;
Reading an entire book when you’ve already decided you don’t like it on Chapter 3;
Anything that makes you roll your eyes or get that anxious pit in your stomach;
The misguided belief that you have to say yes to everyone—all the time.
So what are you going to say no to this week? Let me know so I can cheer you on!
Theresa Ceniccola is a mother, writer and entrepreneur with a passion for connecting other Christian women and helping small business grow. As a marketing and PR professional, she launched TGC Communications, LLC in 1994 and has been working from home to serve clients and follow her passion while raising a family. She is also co-founder of www.writetohealth.com, a guided journaling practice dedicated to helping people discover the health benefits of writing. You can connect with Theresa on her blog at www.theresaceniccola.com.