After having held a Workshop on How to Say No, important things happened that made me think. I had asked the group about their expectations of the outcome of the workshop. Many important things were brought up:
- How to say no to social pressure,
- How to say no to family, friends, when they cross boundaries
- How to say no at work, when requested to do things which we should not do
And then a participant asks a very important question. How can I say No to myself? And this unpacks a lot of meaning, because if we are able to say NO to ourselves, it means that eventually we are not going to put up with things which we cannot handle. We will be more compassionate towards ourselves, therefore we won't be forced into being wondermen and wonderwomen. We will be just good enough, and we will know our limits and boundaries.
Since sometimes, when we say NO, we feel guilt, I want to share with you some tips on how to avoid that:
1. When you say NO to someone or to something, be ensured that your reason is good enough. If you were comfortable with that particular request, you would not feel guilt or indecision or pressure. So, be confident. It is OK for you to say NO.
2. Do not fear the rejection of other people. If people stop talking to you because you said NO, it is an extreme gesture, and it probably means that they don't like you for who you are, but for what you can provide. Analyze your environment and challenge it, if you feel like.
3. Be compassionate towards yourself: if you do not have enough time for yourself, create it. Read a passage from your favorite book, watch your favorite movie for the 10th time, go dancing! Make a long phone call. Basically, do the things you like
4. Establish your values and a set of rules for your well being. It is not a military exercise. This will be a good thing to do to understand your own boundaries. It is super important
Guilt makes us feel insecure and sad. It is just not worth it, and there are many other things which are more serious and dreadful than a healthy NO, from time to time.