Are you a “yes” person?

Are you a “yes” person?

19 January 2024

So, a friend – or a colleague – wants your help with a project. She has a deadline and needs a few hours of your time. Would you help?

You could probably squeeze it into your already tight schedule if you gave up the kids’ Saturday football match as well as Sunday lunch. Truth is you simply don’t want to; BUT, you end up saying:  wait for it … “yes”!

When was the last time you said “no” to someone you know? I bet you really have to think about this one. Saying “no” for most people, doesn’t come easy. Most of us have “The disease to please” . But humour aside, why is it so difficult to say “no”?

According to Susan Newman, PhD, social psychologist and author of The Book of No – 250 ways to say it; our inability to say “no” is not a personal flaw – saying “no” is a learned behaviour.

As young kids the word “no” is drummed out of us. Toddlers who say “no” are reprimanded or punished. And it doesn’t stop there. As we continue to grow we are encouraged to be nurturing and caring, and that usually involves saying “yes.” Combine this with the social connotation of it being impolite to say “no” and voila! We avoid the word altogether.

But, what will happen if we dare to say “no”? Will you really limit your career prospects if you say “no” once in a while? Will your friends expel you from their group if you don’t say “yes” to every invite? Ever thought that maybe, just maybe, everyone might respect you and your time more if you said “no” more often?

Saying “no” can be empowering. It will allow you to set boundaries, establish your needs as worthy of respect, and help you to focus on the activities that bring you joy.  

So, if making more time for family is your biggest goal for 2024,  stick to your priorities and say “no” more often. How? Be polite but firm. A simple: “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t take it on” will do. Or, you could come up with an alternative. This is by no means something that you have to do, but you could offer an alternative form of support. This should be something that you are willing to do because it is easier, less complicated, or less time-consuming.

Think about it: when you say “yes” to something you don’t enjoy, you’re saying  “no” to the things that you love. It’s okay, people have the right to ask, and you definitely have the right to say “no”. A simple: “I simply can’t make it but thank you for the invitation” will suffice.

It’s time to experience the delicious feeling of relief or JOMO, aka The Joy of Missing Out. JOMO is the upbeat antidote to its glass half-empty cousin FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out). JOMO is about  consciously reclaiming a simple, happy life by choosing what works for you.

Relentless “yessing” can leave you exhausted and stressed, which has a negative impact on both your physical as well as mental health.

Say “yes” to the more important things in your life. Could you afford not to?


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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