by Dr Kyra Mesich, drkyra.com
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Say No and Feel Good About It!
Say No and Feel Good About It: A 3 Step Game Plan for Sensitive People
by Dr Kyra Mesich, drkyra.com
by Dr Kyra Mesich, drkyra.com
Are you the person others come to when they need a favor? Have you ever felt resentful because people seem to ask you for favors without reciprocating? Do you have a habit of agreeing to requests, then regretting it later? Wish you knew how to say no?
If you have these experiences, then you are a sensitive person. Sensitive people are perceptive, caring, compassionate, and highly aware individuals. As such, we tend to be a little too worried about how our actions might affect other people. This leads to our classic challenge: difficulty saying no. We aren’t very good at looking out for our own best interests.
Why is it so difficult for us to say no? One reason is that we value cooperation and harmony above all else. Our first instinct, therefore, is to agree and say yes to any request. We want to believe that no one would ask anything unreasonable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Some people do take advantage of our generosity. We may feel resentful toward the requestor afterward, but more often we get mad at ourselves for not saying no.
Here are three new ways to approach the situation when someone makes of request of you that you really don’t want to do.
Take Time to Respond
There is no hard and fast rule that dictates we must give an immediate answer to any request. Sensitive people tend to overthink things. Multiple thoughts go through our heads all at once. We’re experts at worrying too much about how others will react. So let’s take away the immediate problem by rehearsing the following types of responses:
“I can’t give you an answer right now. I’ll need to think it over.”
“I have so much on my mind at the moment, I’d better not give you an answer right now.”
“I can’t answer right now. I think I’m forgetting something I already had planned for that evening.”
“I need to check my calendar first to see if I have time to add that to my other responsibilities.”
These are non-answers, which is fine in this circumstance. We’ve already established that you have a really hard time saying no. So, if you can’t say no, at least don’t say yes either. You have the right to request time before giving an answer.
Get a Wingman/Wingwoman
A wingman is someone who supports you and helps you navigate your course. Find someone (spouse, sibling, friend, counselor) who will be a good support as you resolve to say no more often. Your wingman is the person to go to after you’ve given the “I need some time to respond” answer above. The next step is to talk it through with your wingman and come to a decision together about what is in your best interest. Your wingman also needs to have the okay to push you past your comfort zone. You will likely need accountability to your wingman to follow through and call someone or set up a meeting in order to refuse an unreasonable request. The wingman may be a temporary position, but is often required until we have had several successes saying no.
Visualization: Saying No Meditation
Many professional athletes learn to meditate and visualize their game strategies. It’s been shown that athletes’ performance improves when they practice through visualization. This “Saying No” meditation is much the same. Practice, even in your mind’s eye, prepares you to be at the top of your game.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and imagine someone making a request that you really don’t want to do. Now say, “no.” Don’t give any excuses. Just say no. Pause and take time to feel the empowering energy of saying no to the request. The person in your visualization accepts your response and says something such as, “Ok, no worries, I should probably hire someone instead.” You shake hands or hug and part.
Do this visualization at least once a day until it feels very comfortable and easy to say no in the meditation. Then start changing up the meditation a bit to make it progressively more challenging. Sometimes make the request smaller or larger, have a different person ask you, and then have the requestor ask you if you are sure after you say no. When you get to that point, respond, “Yes, I am sure. You will have to find someone else to help you with that.”
Success saying no during meditation will alter your tendency to always default to a yes answer. It will feel much more natural to say no when it’s in your best interest to do so.
Here It Is!!! The 3 Step Request Refusal Game Plan
Now we’ll combine all three tactics above to say no to an unreasonable request. For this example, imagine a friend who works with a small non-profit organization asks you to fix their virus-ridden website. You instantly know this would be a time consuming project, but you do want to help them. You feel the pull to say, “Okay, I can probably do that,” but instead remember the game plan and start with Step 1.
Step 1: You resist the temptation to give an immediate answer by responding, “I can’t give you an answer right now. I’ll need to think it over.”
Step 2: You call in your wingman! Together you answer these questions: What is the requestor really asking of you? How much time will that request require of you? Does the requestor seem to understand the complexity of what she is asking of you? Even if it’s a simple request, does this requestor have a habit or asking you for favors too often? Taking away what you feel you “should” do, how do you feel about the request? Who else could do this request instead of you?
In this example, you and your wingman decide that this project is far more involved than the requestor realizes. In your opinion, the organization should hire someone to fix the problem or create a new website.
Step 3: You practice the Saying No meditation before calling the requestor back. You bask for a moment in the liberating energy of saying no in the visualization. Then you make your call and feel composed as you tell your friend no and the reason why. She accepts your expert opinion, and says she will present other options to the organization’s board.
Stick to this game plan, and you will overcome even a lifelong tendency to place others’ needs before your own. Some time, a little help, and preparation are all it takes to kick the habit of being a doormat. “No” just might be the healthiest word you’ve said in a long time.
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