Guilt and the fear of adverse reactions often deter individuals from prioritizing self-care. If you, like me, struggle with people-pleasing tendencies, this can be particularly challenging to address. Identifying this trait in myself about a year ago was a significant step toward becoming a former people pleaser (although it's still a work in progress).
My body has been a reliable indicator of my reluctance to commit to something I'd rather avoid. Shallow breathing, muscle tension, and a growing sense of panic are telltale signs that I'm on the verge of agreeing to something I don't truly want to do. While I've built a life I love, occasionally, I still find myself in situations where saying 'NO' is the right choice, but I feel uncomfortable doing so.
If you need a permission slip to say 'NO,' consider this your official endorsement.
Saying 'NO' is often easier when you have a scheduling conflict, but it becomes trickier when it's a matter of simply not wanting to participate or yearning for some quality time alone under a cozy blanket. Prioritizing self-care means learning to say 'NO' to commitments that no longer serve you, and it's the ultimate act of self-care.
I recall my initial dating experiences after the divorce. I struggled with declining se
cond dates because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. As a result, I found myself agreeing to more dates than I desired, and eventually, I began avoiding dating altogether because I lacked the right words. Sharing my predicament with a close friend led to the development of polite, effective responses that felt right for me, eliminating those unpleasant feelings and rekindling my excitement for dating.
Here are a couple of phrases to help you start saying 'NO':
"Thank you so much for the invite; unfortunately, I am unable to make it, but I look forward to seeing you soon."
"Wow, that sounds like so much fun! I can't make that day work, but I'd love it if you keep me in mind for the next one."
To ease the post-'NO' feeling, plan an activity that keeps you distracted and in good spirits immediately after sending your decline. Whether it's heading to the gym, meeting a friend for lunch, or having a phone date with someone you care about, do what works best for you to stay positive.
Fall presents an excellent opportunity to practice saying 'NO' when you genuinely don't want to commit.
This is your permission slip to take time for yourself, whether it's enjoying a bath, reading a book, going shopping, or engaging in any activity that nurtures your well-being.
You are worth it!