I think the thing that gets me MOST triggered when i’m talking to people is when they say they CAN’T say no.
As in, they don’t have autonomy over their own life and decisions and boundaries.
Can’t, as in other people know what is better for them than their own intuition.
And my guess is that your intuition is already telling you that you are close to burn out. That you need to start putting yourself first (even if that feels impossible with your family, your job, or your social life).
So I am going to UN-complicate it for you by reminding you of this:
YOU are the only one that has to live with the consequences of your decision.
Even if someone is speaking to you out of love, or if you are helping people out of the generosity of your heart, nobody else has to deal with the fall out of you feeling like you need 16 hours of sleep and swimming pool full of epsom salts to survive every day.
Here are 5 ways that you might be complicating your NO (and how you can UN-complicate it, like, NOW).
You don’t know what you want
A lot of people I talk to kind of end up on autopilot.
You are working, looking after people, committing to new jobs because that is the path you happen to be on. But are you creating the life you actually want?
When you dream of your ideal day to day life- are you running around in chaos? Are you slumped on the couch staring at your phone instead of your partner?
Or do you have energy to go out and do things you love?
Evaluating yes/no decisions based on this overall vision for your life will show you where you need boundaries (i.e. if it doesn’t serve the dream, it’s a NO).
You still think other peoples’ needs are more important
I get it- I’m a die-hard empath. When I see someone in need, or when I see a job thatneeds doing, I will usually just do it.
But what happens when you burn out and those people can’t rely on you anymore? When you are too tired for your kids or partner (i.e. the ones who actually need you)?
I learnt from a course a few years ago that you should not do things for people that they CAN and SHOULD do for themselves. This is called “rescuing” and it is a sure fire way to burn out so that you can’t help ANYBODY.
Put yourself first.
You are deliberating when it could be YES or NO
I recently read a book called The Happiness Project, and one of the “Rules of Adulthood” that Gretchen Rubin mentions is that “Most Decisions Don’t Take That Long To Make”.
Are you thinking too hard about decisions?
Are you stressing and losing sleep over things that should just be yes or no?
Do you want to do it, yes or no.
Do you want to do it, what will happen if I don’t, who will take my place, what if the project fails, how can I squeeze it into my schedule.
You are assuming you know what other people are thinking
Most people don’t care as much as you think (and you can’t control what they think anyway).
I use the example of someone asking you to cover and extra shift at work.
If you say no, you might feel guilty, you might feel like you are letting the team down.
But what if the boss hasn’t actually said that to you? Are you creating a narrative that makes it impossible for you to say no without feeling guilty?
Say no with the information you have, not the information you think they are thinking.
You are focusing on short term repercussions
I have nothing against being helpful and generous. I am ACTIVELY trying to be that person.
But if you are doing it so much that you LITERALLY DON’T HAVE TIME TO RELAX then you won’t be able to help anyone for a very long time.
It’s OK to want to help people and offer your time/energy.
But you MUST think about your boundaries long-term.
Can you stay this tired forever? Can you keep going this way without putting yourself first?