Can You Say No?

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BY: PRIYA ALI

More and more people are finding themselves in an overwhelming cycle of not being able to keep up with the demands of their lives. Yet, even when their plates are full and others ask more of them they don’t feel that they can say no. They go ahead and take on more and more knowing that inside they feel like they are drowning.  It leads to them putting their own needs on the back burner, leaving the things they need to get done for themselves or to take care of themselves at the end of their to-do list if not allowing them to fall off the list altogether.

This can stem from a fear of not being good enough or disappointing others. What will they think of me if I say no? What if they get upset if I say no? Other times, it comes from feeling or thinking if I push myself a little harder I can do it, I can get it done. This may lead to pushing yourself beyond healthy limits. Often times we find ourselves so burnt out and hanging by a thread because of all that we have taken on.

It’s common for those of us in this cycle to struggle with asking for help. This can cause resentment because when we feel we require help, nobody jumps in the way we do for others to pick up the slack or swoop into saving the day. Since we have demonstrated and displayed our superhuman abilities, others find it easy to ask and rely on us for help. At times, you may find that they will allow you take on a responsibility for them while they are out enjoying themselves or relaxing. Seeing this can be infuriating, but do we speak up, usually not.

If we were to dig deeper, we would likely realize that there is one person that constantly keeps pushing and asking more of us than we have and can give. That person is ourselves and probably the first person we need to learn to say no to. Learning to set boundaries for ourselves from ourselves is a key element to self-love and acceptance. Giving ourselves permission to have limits and not having to operate at 100 miles an hour is part of self-respect, self-care and nurturing ourselves.  

It’s important to be aware of the energetic demands we place on ourselves and ultimately teach others to place upon us. Sometimes learning to say no to others is an easier starting point than starting with ourselves, but it is a necessary starting point in order to change. The next step is to begin to set realistic daily goals and ensure that you are making time for yourself daily to do things that are just for you as well as meet your basic requirements of proper nutrition, sleep, and rest. Remind and reassure yourself that you are not less than if you cannot keep up with Superwoman or Superman and remember to just say no.

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