A Therapist Works Hard To Take Her Own Advice

I often tell my clients that No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to say anything past it. You don’t have to explain your reasons or make someone feel better you can just say no.

Great advice to give not so easy to actually put it into practice. Women in particular can be socialized to have a very hard time saying no. We are also prone to saying “I’m sorry” a lot more than is necessary. It is very hard to shift those behaviors. I fully admit I struggle with this as much as the next person.

Recently someone asked me to do something. I didn’t want to do it. It was a big time commitment and quite honestly I did not want to give up a precious weekend day to do something as a favor to someone. And it was a work sort of a favor not a helping a friend move type of favor. See what I just did there I rationalized my saying no as I write a blog post about it.

Anyway, instead of taking direct route one which was to just say no I first used a delaying tactic and said I had to check on something to make sure I could do the request. After I did that I knew it was a mistake but I followed through and checked out what needed checking and indeed I was capable of doing the project. Easy out gone. Darn it.

Next I procrastinated a few days before responding. Then I asked a friend advice on how to say no diplomatically which essentially means without upsetting the other person or having any consequences. I am a therapist I know this. They gave me advice that I hated about making it a business decision. Then we both agreed I could say it was just about the time commitment, which is actually the true reason. It is hard to just say no without a reason. I wrote and edited the email a few times and then quickly sent it off before I could change my mind.

Good news is that I set my limit. And the other person respected it. It was uncomfortable for me to do it but I have found the more I set boundaries and say no the easier it is to do it. Maybe someday I will do it when the request first comes to me. Maybe it will always be a struggle. The courage is in finding the way to try anyway.