By Vicki Shipley, MSW
It’s a two letter word that can make a world of difference. People just don’t like saying “No”. It seems to come easy to toddlers, but adults tend to struggle. Perhaps they are afraid of offending someone, or they are worried that someone will not like them, or they feel that it’s expected that they do what’s being asked of them. In many cases people find it difficult to say no, so they just give in because it’s the easier thing to do.
When we have trouble saying no, that action can impact many of our roles and relationships with others.
Some parents seem to be very tentative about using this word, “No”. They don’t want to upset a child, it is less stressful to just give them what they want and avoid the hassle. Keeping the word “no” as part of your parenting toolbox means your child will have to learn that he can’t always get his way. Instead of giving in when you go to the store, you can say “No, I am not buying that toy, you have lots of toys at home, and you can play with them. “
In the work world, employers often expect staff to take on extra responsibilities which might be more than what was originally agreed upon. It is okay to say you are overwhelmed but might be able to tackle a project at a later date.
Sometimes close friends have trouble saying the dreaded “no” word. If it’s expected that every weekend you will host the barbecue because you have a pool, it’s okay to say you’re not available and suggest the party take place at a different location.
Studies have shown that saying “no” actually reduces stress. It helps you control how much chaos you allow into your life. It lets you decide how much you can handle, instead of taking on everything, and having no time for yourself. It lessens anxiety and cuts down on many nights of lost sleep.
Stand in the mirror, and practice saying “no”. Remember to say it as least once a day.
• “No”, I will not buy you those shoes, when you get your summer job, you can purchase them yourself.
• “No”, I can’t take on that project, my calendar is full, but I will have some time next month. Can it wait a little while?
• “No”, I just can’t have the event at my house, I am getting ready for fall cleaning, so it’s not a good time for me. Perhaps I can do something in the spring.
Now go ahead and pat yourself on the back, you have just taken the first steps in having less stress and chaos in your life. Sure it will take some getting used to, but once you have mastered it you will feel a lot better in the long run. And “no” I was not forced to write this blog!
By Vicki Shipley, MSW, JCS Service Coordinator
JCS provides a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. We offer guidance and support when you are seeking solutions for emotional well-being, aging and caregiving, parenting, job seeking, employers and businesses, achieving financial stability, living with special needs, and preventing risky behaviors. To learn more, please visit our home page or call 410-466-9200.