It happens simply, almost innocently, with a phone call. A text. An email.
We should get together this weekend, when are you free?
They really need help with the four-year-old class . . .
You should absolutely take advantage of this opportunity!
It’s nothing earth shattering – surely I should be able to do this one thing. Yet my stomach makes that familiar flop, and anxiety settles in because I know in taking on this one thing, someone’s going to be disappointed.
In the real world, it’s not just one thing; it’s one thing, after another thing, after another thing.
I am a people-pleaser. I hate telling people no. Not the people who are closest to me. Not the people I work with. Not even the nameless, faceless people I meet online. But by saying yes so many times over, allowing those things to start piling up high, it’s dangerously easy for me to lose touch with what really matters.
I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit paralyzed over that text or email, trying to calculate how I can minimize the damage and still say yes, until something very important dawned on me.
Every time I say YES, I am also saying NO.
I’m so tired of saying YES when I should be saying NO, and NO when I should be saying YES. It’s a habit that is slow to break, but NO-by-NO I’m learning to filter my responses – and reduce that all too familiar stress – by reflecting on three simple questions.
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