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The Benefits of Saying “No”

by Beth on May 16th, 2012

I’ve always had a hard time saying “no”. It’s because I’m a people-pleaser. When someone asks me to do something I tend to say “yes” right away, not wanting to disappoint them.

But there are problems with not being able to say “no”: 1) it can increase stress, which is really bad for our health and 2) saying “yes” to everything prevents us from focusing on what matters.

Overcommitting by trying to cram too many activities into too little time leads to stress. We are much more likely to get sick when we are stressed. And chronic stress can cause serious health risks including heart attacks.

Each time we say “yes” to something we are saying “no” to something else because the amount of time we have doesn’t change. This isn’t always bad. Agreeing to prepare dinner for our church’s Youth Group on Sunday evening might mean I won’t spend the afternoon on Facebook or watching TV. So it’s not that we should say “no” to everything. We just shouldn’t say “yes” too quickly.

Before saying “yes” we should take time to think about the request. First we need to consider our current commitments. When we say “no” to a new commitment we are honoring our existing commitments, making sure we have time to devote to things we have already said “yes” to.

We should also think about our overall priorities. Being clear about our priorities lets us evaluate requests based on whether or not they connect to our larger sense of purpose. We should only say “yes” if the new commitment is important to us.

I’m learning not to feel guilty about saying “no”. It helps to remind myself that saying “no” is important for my health and well-being. It keeps my stress level under control. It allows me to fulfill the commitments I already have. And it keeps me focused on what really matters.

From → Personal Growth

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