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Are You Allergic to Saying <i>No?</i>

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Are You Allergic to Saying No?

Learning how to honor yourself.
Patricia  Spadaro
Patricia Spadaro More by this author
Jun 06, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Do you say yes whenever anyone asks for your help? Do you allow people or events to pull you away from what you planned to do? Would you rather please others than have a confrontation with them? Then you just might be allergic to saying no.

We all want to be helpful and giving. So it can be hard to say no when your best friend asks for a favor, your spouse wants you to run a last-minute errand, or your boss needs you to work late, even though you’re exhausted, hungry, and need some help yourself. But if you never say no, you may be sacrificing the power, focus, and resilience you need to give your best gifts to others—and, after all, isn’t that why you’re here?

While life calls each of us to give generously, it also beckons us to master the art of balance, the art of giving and receiving. Even Mother Teresa taught that renewal is a prerequisite for garnering the power to serve. To continue to give, and give well, we must embrace the paradox that saying no, when appropriate, will enable us to say yes to what’s most important.

Our lessons often begin with what we can see and touch—our bodies. They start with the questions: Do you love yourself enough to honor your body’s needs? Do you give yourself the nourishment, rest, and recreation you deserve? If you don’t willingly give that to yourself, you can be sure that life will come knocking with its wake-up call.

I watched this happen to a busy professional I would see a few times a year at business meetings. At one meeting, I asked how she was feeling, knowing she had been recovering from a serious surgery. “I’m good, but busy again,” she said with a frown. “In fact, if I don’t get some time off soon, I’m just going to have to schedule another visit to the hospital!” My heart skipped a beat as I realized that she might very well fulfill her own prophecy if she didn’t learn the lesson her body had tried to teach her the first time.

3 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries and Stay True to YOU!

At a time when the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore was struggling to draw boundaries and replenish his inner resources, he wrote to a friend, “To try to benefit others, and yet not to have enough of oneself to give others, is a poor affair.” If you have a hard time drawing the line and staying in balance, you can change that habit—and your life—by learning to honor yourself in ways big and small. Here are three tips to help you jumpstart the process of drawing healthy boundaries and staying true to yourself.

  1. Practice on the small things. When you are not used to drawing boundaries, it can feel uncomfortable at first to do so. Start by taking baby steps. Each week, practice setting boundaries in the small, everyday issues that arise. Turn off your phone when you need to concentrate rather than being at everyone’s beck and call. Ask a family member to make dinner or do an errand when you’re short on time. Tell friends you’re not available on an evening when you want to spend time alone. As you learn to set boundaries in situations like those, you’ll find it easier to recognize and confront the larger issues when they surface.
  2. Exercise your freedom of choice. When someone asks for your help, rather than responding with a knee-jerk reaction of “yes,” tell that person you’ll get back to them. Then check in with yourself by asking: What are my choices? What do I want and what do I feel is right for me in this situation? Is sacrificing in this case appropriate? Am I the best person to respond to this need? Then give yourself permission to say no if you need to.
  3. Put yourself at the top of your priority list. Don’t wait until you’ve checked off the tasks you’re doing for others to give yourself what you need—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When making your daily to-do list, be sure to schedule time for yourself so that your own self-care isn’t the item that gets constantly bumped off your list. Recharging your batteries is not optional. It’s a bona fide part of your schedule and of staying healthy and in balance so you can give your best to the world.
About Author
Patricia  Spadaro
Patricia Spadaro is the internationally known author of Honor Yourself: The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving and coauthor of other popular works on personal growth and world traditions. She is dedicated to inspiring and empowering others to l Continue reading