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How adding this one word to your vocabulary could change your life

It’s a word with two letters, a syllable, but to say it comes with lots of baggage. The word in question is, of course, “no”, and I can guarantee that I’m not the only one who apparently cannot formulate it. For women in particular, there is no shortage of complications wrapped up in shutting down a request to offer our helping hands. That is why this year I have committed myself to learning to say no – determined, proud, convincing – and it takes precedence over everything else.

So why do we fall into this trap? If you’re like me (and really everyone else on the planet), then you know it can be felt soooo good to soak up the look of appreciation when you offer to care for a friend’s child. And let me not start on the feeling of satisfaction when you give an enthusiastic Yes! in response to being asked to take on (another) work project. While it is easy to offer help, it can quickly lead to overwhelm as a result of the many commitments you have made to your already long list of to-do’s.

Featured image of Blue-green Thomsen.

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To get the crucial answers, I joined Michaela Bucchianeri, a clinical psychologist and anxiety coach who is committed to helping individuals achieve their highest level of well-being and lead a more authentic life. Below, Bucchianeri divides why lies behind our tendency to convince ourselves, revealing signs that we should turn down an offer or an opportunity, and six action-oriented ways of saying none– And mean it.

The desire to say Yes! every time Something is asked of us is genuine and incredibly powerful. Why?

I alluded to the usual suspects above – and the reasons behind them – but it can be repeated. The very visceral attraction to jump in when something is asked of us can feel almost impossible to deny. And the first step in learning to connect with our truth and saying no, of course, is to understand why we volunteer our time and effort in the first place.

Bucchianeri reads: “The smile, the sigh of relief and the immediate thanks we receive when we say ‘yes’ to a request are strong signals that we have done the right thing. Whether we are aware of it or not, they are most of us are very motivated by this. “

However, she is quick to note that other factors may contribute. It could be your background, family structure or something from your past that motivates you to seek validation from others. “Certain life experiences may have trained us to put the needs of others above our own in order to maintain harmony, security or even security in our environment,” she says.

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Why can this phenomenon affect women more than men?

Do not get me wrong, I am well aware that overengagement is a common trend regardless of gender, but women have been conditioned and socialized to believe that sympathy is our most important, valued property. As a result, we often prioritize the needs of others over our own.

“When a woman behaves in ways that are consistent with our collective understanding of ‘pleasant,'” Bucchianeri says, “she is often rewarded with positive feedback, which reinforces this tendency over time.”

What are the signs that we should say no?

I have long believed that the answers we are looking for can be found in ourselves – and Bucchianeri agrees. “We can learn a lot from observing patterns in our own behavior. For example, our emotional reactions can provide valuable information. “

She gives a little wisdom: Take a break before committing. “Do not judge yourself; just get curious: Do you feel anger? overwhelm? Grief? These can be strong indicators that our actions are not in line with our values. “

“If you find that you experience anger when you accept certain commitments, it may be worth renegotiating your boundaries.”

Picture of Michelle Nash

How can we decide to say no?

As with many things in life, it all comes down to boundaries. By making status, and what Bucchianeri calls, an “honest review” of your boundaries, you can gain significant insight into what you have the space and time to commit to. Take the time to reflect on your values ​​and prioritize the relationships and activities that support your goals Before requests start rolling in. “

From there, our old standby, mindfulness comes into play. “Instead of rushing to say ‘yes’,” says Bucchianeri, “pause and check in with yourself to determine how you are feeling. What do you feel in your body? This can be useful data to guide our decision-making. “

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How can we deal with the guilt that can arise when we say no?

First of all, guilt is completely normal! It can be uncomfortable to practice in new ways of being. “Addiction takes time,” Bucchianeri says. Before anything else, she encourages you to practice patience with yourself. “Try to focus on what motivated you to change your behavior in the first place. Remember: You get there.”

How can we say no to communicating our needs with compassion?

“Depending on the circumstances (such as what is being asked of you, who is asking), you can tailor your ‘no’ accordingly.” Below, Bucchianeri offers a few opportunities to implement in practice.

  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I can not right now.
  • Unfortunately, I have to pass this time.
  • I’m afraid I do not have the capacity to meet up to this.
  • I’m overcrowded at the moment, but please ask me again next time [time, month, year].
  • I do not think I am the right person for this, but _______ could be interested.
  • I can not help with this, but I would gladly __________ instead.

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