Let’s face it, women are expected to do it all, and the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily. Men, on the other hand, are expected to assert themselves and speak their minds, knowing that it gives them status and power. As women, we have been trained to be nice to everyone and make them happy.
Are you a woman who needs to set personal boundaries and learn to say “no” occasionally? Do people call you Superwoman at home, in your community, and on the job? As females, we are often our own worst enemies. We multitask and take on almost any chore with a smile but in our heart know that boundaries must be set if we are to maintain balance.
If we say “yes” to everything it can be a disservice to everyone. Your mother wants you to fly across the country to help with her move into a new condo. You would like to ignore her request since you made other plans but feel pressured since she’s always been there for you. Perhaps you live paycheck to paycheck and would like to turn down that hundredth offer to assume the role of ‘professional bridesmaid’. You know if you accept the obligation to help your mother or overextend your credit card for yet another bridesmaid dress, you will experience some bitterness and resentment. And those feelings add up over time and that’s called “stress”. When we say “yes” to something we are not comfortable with, it creates tension in our life and has an impact on our overall wellbeing.
Suggesting that a woman just say “no” is not that easy. It takes courage to give yourself permission to say “no” without guilt building up. Think about it. Is taking care of yourself such a bad thing if you are protecting yourself? Saying “no” may involve analyzing your daily routines and activities and taking note of where your time and energy is wasted. Are you committing to everything in sight?
For example, Kara, an attorney insisted she wants her child to be well rounded and give her a life she was not fortunate to have as a young girl. “I signed her up for everything under the sun; ballet, piano lessons, girl scouts, and two soccer leagues. The carpooling alone was killing me not to mention the number of recitals and games I had to attend.
One day I took a hard look in the mirror and shouted, Stop… I can’t keep this up. It turns out my daughter had the same feelings about being overcommitted. We took a pause in life and decided to regroup.”
One additional aspect about learning to say “no” is that you may have more time to do something you really want. Think about learning to say ‘no’ the next time you get angry for attending a baby shower on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for a woman you barely know. Say “no” without the guilt and award yourself a gold star for taking care of YOU!