Nurses week has come and gone. How do you keep alive the celebration of yourself and the beautiful work you do as a member of the health care community? Once again it comes back to your own Self care which means sometimes saying No without feeling guilt or shame. You are a family member and a friend as well as all of the other roles you may have. Remember, saying no to another person is in fact saying yes to your Self.
After the “terrible twos” and/or the rebellions of adolescence, you may have stopped speaking up on your own behalf when it comes to scheduling; especially if you are a people pleaser. Saying No can feel risky if you don’t feel confident in your skills for saying No or, if you worry about what others might think or feel.
When you follow the pathway of your resistance to saying No, or your habit of saying yes, you will probably discover fear. Fear is not a comfortable emotion to feel. It is often irrational, and based in the past. Facing your fears builds your courage muscle. Sit quietly for a few minutes and reflect on the last time you did not say No when you really wanted to. Explore your fear of saying No to see where it takes you. Do you fear that you will lose your job or that someone will not like you? Are you trying to get someone to like you? Do you want to please the person making the request because they control your schedule? Maybe it feels easier to say yes knowing you will be bullied into a yes. or perhaps you are used to saying, “no one else will do it, so I will”. Are you a martyr? Do you fear being criticized, disliked or punished?
The good news is that saying No can also leave doors open for friendship, connection and confidence. It is something that you can, with practice become adept at. When your No is grounded in your integrity, you are staying true to your Self, your commitments and your values.
Although saying No is not always easy, there are skillful ways that honor you and the other person.
Awareness is the first step. How often do you say yes and then realize that you did not want to say yes? For some saying yes is a habit. Remember, you always have choices.
Embrace your priorities and set boundaries that reflect them, honor yourself and others. To not abide by your priorities and values is not only disingenuous, but harmful to both you and the other person. After all, caring for your Self makes it possible for you to genuinely care for others.
What are your priorities?
Reflect upon this question and perhaps you can list them.
Empower yourself by taking the time you need to make the choice. This can mean saying, “let me get back to you after I have checked my calendar”, or “I need some time to consider this”. Your ability to say this improves and reflects your self esteem.
Express your gratitude for the offer. Without making excuses- just stating the facts, you can say “no”. “Thank you for asking, but that is not possible at this time.” Remember that the part that comes after the “but” is the part that will stay with the person. … And the “Thank you” softens the message. Depending upon the situation, you may choose the order of what you will say first.
Offer a suggestion. When you can, help the requester to meet their need, if it is a genuine possibility. “I’m not available for this but maybe you can contact…” This shows your consideration of the other person’s situation.
Deepen your relationship, when it is appropriate through your No. Sometimes the other person, (my children come to mind) becomes relentless in the request, as if you can be worn down into a yes. At that point, you might want to say, “I am not going to change my mind. Please stop asking me.” However, then there is often an opportunity to ask them what they are feeling since you are not going to meet the request. This can be a time for a deepening of the relationship as you show your caring about the impact of your statement on the person. Whatever they say, this is not a time for you to feel guilty. You are giving them the opportunity to express their feelings, thoughts and concerns. Your listening is a gift.
As you develop your No muscle, deepening your relationship with your Self, you build your courage and become empowered to align yourself with your priorities and values. Go for it! The world is waiting for you to show up in your fullness! Please share with us your challenges and the ways you say No that empowers you and also cares for the other person.
Each week there is an opportunity to practice tuning into your Self.
Self care strengthens your self esteem and competence.