One of the issues I hear many women struggle with is being spread too thin because they feel like they have to say yes to everything asked of them. You know what I say to that? No! No, you don’t have to say yes! Whoever made that a rule? No one. You’ve put it upon yourself. I say yes plenty…when I want to. I am perfectly content saying yes to things that make me happy or excited, and saying no to things that will add stress to my life or take time away from the things I’d rather say yes to.
There are so many things we essentially have to say yes to that we don’t want to do (laundry, care taking, dishes, housecleaning, kid taxi, work, cooking, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc.), that it makes no sense to me why anyone feels pressure to say yes when directly asked to do something that will take away from our already limited free time.
I’m very successful at creating work for myself. I have a very large list of things I want to do and look forward to doing, and I can’t even find time to cross those things off.
Why should I push those things even further down my list by saying yes to someone else’s list? Saying “no” will not make you a worse friend, church member, neighbor or parent. If anything, it teaches these friends, neighbors and whiny kids of ours to say no themselves. It also keeps you less frazzled and stressed, which allows you to be a better friend, neighbor and parent on a day-to-day basis. On more than one occasion I’ve had friends tell me they respect my nos. When I apologize for not obliging, they tell me there’s no reason to apologize. Just because they think you’ll be good or helpful at this “thing” doesn’t mean they won’t be able to find someone else who may be happy saying yes.
Saying no to our kids is a whole different ball game.
Do my kids complain that I say no all the time? Of course! Doesn’t every kid complain about the nos? Sometimes I actually say yes, but they don’t really notice those. Apparently “no” is more noticeable. I avoided letting my kids even know about the movie Yes Day, but then found out they watched it when my parents babysat them. So now of course they randomly ask if we can have a “Yes day.” You know what I say to that? No. I know they will take complete advantage and ask for a dog and a turtle and a lizard and a vacation and an iPhone and to buy them stuff at 17 different stores. It will not go well and no matter how many ground rules I place beforehand, they will outsmart me and think of ridiculous requests I hadn’t considered. It’s easier to just prevent it from happening in the first place. Will I say yes to a random ice cream request or that time my oldest asked for a fish? Yes!
All this to say, don’t feel guilty saying no. I know it’s easier said than done. I guess it takes practice if you’re a notorious yesser. Go for it! Do the unthinkable! Add freedom to your life! Politely decline the request you’re uninterested in and walk away with shoulders lighter than they would have been had you said yes.