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How to Say No

By: Dr. Ceymone Dyce


I’ve learned over the years that over extending leads to depletion. When the usual, 
delightful nuisance in life becomes magnified and morphs into monstrous frustration, it is my indicator that I'm starting to burn out. At that time it’s necessary to listen a bit closer to the signals that are telling me to change something and it probably means I'm not saying no enough. Learning how to say no helps to build healthy boundaries.

This is especially true for us problem solvers. I’ve learned however, that the world does not stop if I say I am unable to do something; hashtag: shocker. Quite frankly, you might even be surprised at how little effect saying no has on certain situations. Why? Because ultimately everyone figures out ways to get their needs met. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It means that you are taking control of things that you want to do. It has nothing to do with anyone else. Additionally, it does not always mean you are saying no forever. You are however, saying no in that moment; this has meaning. If you continue to compromise yourself you are giving other people permission to continue, to put you second. Saying no allows you to set boundaries to get your needs met, on your time. You are saying no, so that you can say yes to yourself.

As a recovering people pleaser, I've fully subscribed to the "definitely maybe" club, because let's face it - sometimes you will change your mind. However, nothing and I mean nothing feels worse than doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Still saying yes to that zoom when you know you'd rather be scrolling through your favorite streaming service? Cancel that.

Positive Distraction:

I encourage you to say no. Say no to habits and people that do not serve you.  This includes family, friends, co-workers, even PTA committees. Accept the changes and do the things you need to do to survive without compromising yourself. Say no and mean it. Win.

3 strategies to help you say no this week:

  • The Haiku Approach; Keep it short and simple: "Can't." 
  • The Sammy; Start and end with a positive: "I would love to but" | NO | "Thank you for the invitation.”
  • The Definitely Maybe; Give yourself an 'out': "Right now, the answer is no but if anything changes, I'll let you know.”

Wellness is a continued act. It is not a one-time dose that gets you through a specific duration of life. Part of understanding what leads to your empty cup, is knowing how to create your own terms. No, is a complete sentence and a complete answer. 

Thanks for checking in today friend. I’m already looking forward to our next session. 

Talk soon- Dr. Dyce.