The word ‘no’ is a great time saver. Well, often you needn’t actually use the word, just words to that effect. Obstacles to deciding to say no might be the fear of rejection or a fear of hurting the other person’s feelings. You can use assertiveness skills with yourself as well. This might be a strategy to be in control of your eating.
If the goal is to preserve feelings, let’s put your own feelings into the mix. When you feel put upon, are you blaming the other person for “pressuring” you or for having “talked you into it?” Is it their fault that you said “yes” when you wanted to say “no?” Is it possible that you feel hurt not by their request but by your thoughts about what happened?
Let’s deconstruct this scenario and find the embedded problems. Here are a few:
- You may find yourself avoiding the person who made the request so that you don’t have to “deal” with similar difficulties in the future.
- You lose the opportunity to build a relationship of trust – if you were not honest, you will suspect that others aren’t either – shaky ground.
- You end up feeling like a victim – you are, after all, doing something you didn’t want to do.
So what might you gain from honestly expressing a ‘no’ of sorts?
- A sense of relief for not having to take on something you didn’t want to do
- A higher level of comfort with the person who accepted the ‘no’
- A feeling of trust that the relationship is sustainable
Finding words that work for you is an important part of the process of saying yes to saying no. You might be able to decrease the feeling of being out of control of your time, or your food or your life.
What might you say? How can you feel comfortable expressing your desire? Practice:
- Oh, thanks for asking. I can’t go this weekend (and you may or may not choose to say what the conflict is). Can we schedule another time?
- I’m not the right one to babysit your kids. Ask me to do something else to help you out.
- Oh, dear. It looks wonderful but I can’t eat that much. Let’s give this plate to someone else and you can serve me about half that much.
- Thanks for thinking to bring me a treat but I have a snack with me. The treat is all yours.
In what area of your life are you ready to practice the assertiveness skill of saying no? What small beginning would help you to feel empowered?