The struggle between letting ourselves look bad by saying no, and raising our stress levels with unnecessary commitments. Yet we have to avoid the mental trap of “not wanting to let others down” in order to make progress in our own lives. In fact, studies have shown that taking on tasks you’ll rather avoid causes you to harbor feelings of resentment that eventually could result in anxiety disorders and depression.
So if you’re like me, and you think it’s easier to “just do it” and avoid a confrontation than to frankly say no – be warned! You’re seriously harming your physical and mental well-being. I am so bad in fact that if I have to head a project, I can go so far as doing the tasks of myself and my team mates just to avoid having to police others into doing their parts! And just like that, I have a solid reputation of “getting the job done” even if those responsible choose not to. But how fair is that to myself? And what a self destructive habit to cultivate.
In the end we’re all given the same 24 hours in a day, and each of us is responsible for how their time is spent, not just for a day but for the whole of our lives. It’s not fair to yourself to use your own time (which equates to your life) in taking on the burden of others. Admittedly, it’s important to offer assistance to others when we can, but we must know when to draw the line between helping others and being sucked into their problems. Or worse, becoming the go to person for others to unload their burdens on.
The only way to undo the habit of indiscriminately saying yes is to gradually learn to say no wisely. So how do you do this?
Firstly, believe in yourself. Believe in your capabilities and your value, and that you do not need others to validate your existence or importance. Understand that you are valuable. Your time is valuable, as are your skills. Don’t sell yourself short by serving others at the expense of your own responsibilities, time, health and self. Pleasing others all the time is all well and good but when compared to the cost on your time, it’s not really worth it. Your time is a valuable commodity which you need to pursue your own goals so use it wisely.
Secondly, do not guilt yourself into believing it’s bad to say no sometimes, it’s not! When asked to do something you’re not sure of, take your time to evaluate the situation.Keep in mind that once you establish the habit of saying yes always, those around you will begin to feel entitled to your time and will never understand even when you absolutely have to refuse. So don’t wait for their understanding now, instead choose the responsibilities you take on based on your availability and the cost on your time and on your life. Your life and happiness are important too, do not sacrifice them for the convenience of others!