Welcome to the New Year! We know you’ve already started working on those resolutions, but there’s something vitally important that we think you should add to your list. Here’s why saying ‘No’ should be your new mantra.
Language is a beautiful thing that allows us to open up, embrace friendships, communicate with others and live together peacefully. But even as young children, we learn very quickly to be polite, warm and accommodating. During the toddler stage, we start to show individual choice and the need for space by saying, “No” to milk, pants or certain toys. It’s how we distinguish our wants and needs from the wants and needs of those around us. But somewhere along the way, we learn that ‘No’ has a pretty negative connotation. No, you’re not old enough. No, you can’t come. No, you shouldn’t try that. Then, further along the way, you learn that saying no can be hurtful to your peer group, your friends and your family who expected you to comply or say yes to something they wanted. Saying ‘No’ seems harsh and self-indulging. It’s so negative, in fact, that at some point along the way you just forget to say it to others. You forget that it’s a choice and a perfectly reasonable answer to give others. Here are four ways to embrace the word ‘No.” (Trust us, it’ll be your new BFF.)
Just say ‘No’ and don’t give a reason why. Sayyyy what? We know, you feel like since you’re saying ‘no,’ you owe them an explanation. But the truth is you don’t have to tell them why. No means no. No explanation required. So the next time someone asks you to go on a jog but you’ve got plans for a bubble bath and a mani/pedi, just tell them,”No, I can’t do that today.” They’ll understand and you’ll feel empowered.
Think about your family. As a mama, you’re not only in charge of yourself, you’re in charge of your entire family. That means over scheduling too many events or extracurricular activities can leave your little ones exhausted and in search of a break. You have to be the gatekeeper for your children and that comes with the need to be able to say “No thank you, not this time.” Your children will also benefit from watching you say ‘No’ and learn healthy habits that they can carry with them in the future.
Say ‘No’ at work. We know! That’s the scariest concept we’ve thrown out there yet. When you’re trying to climb the career ladder, it can be easy to say ‘yes’ to every extra project, every after-work get-together, every interview for a promotion. But all that agreement can lead to unrealistic expectations both for your boss and for yourself. Spending more time on making your work the best it can be will help you reap more benefits in the work world than stretching yourself too thin.
If you’re having a hard time saying ‘No’, take baby steps. If all of this has your stomach in knots, it’s okay to take it slow. Try throwing in a an occassional “Maybe, I’ll think about it.” This will help you practice giving an alternative answer to ‘Yes’ and give you the building blocks to getting to that beautiful word ‘No’ and all the freedom that brings.
Now, we don’t intend for you to turn yourself into a negative Nancy. Don’t overuse the word ‘No’ by neglecting to help or respond to the ones you love. We do hope that this year is the year that you start carving out a little time to take care of yourself and your family. And it all starts with one tiny little word that packs a mighty big punch.
Happy New Year! oxoxoxoxoxo, LBDLRW