The art of the soft "no" - Deepstash

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The art of the soft "no"

There is a difference between a hard “No, thank you” and a softer “Thanks so much for asking, but I’m not able to this week.” Another example: “Thank you so much for asking me to do this project. It sounds fascinating, but I don’t have the bandwidth for it at this time.

Don’t feel obligated to give too much of an explanation or being over-apologetic. It may confuse the other person. Stick with an elegant and soft no.

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Discerning between desire and obligation when saying "yes"

Writing down your data helps you distinguish between when you feel excited to say yes to something and when it feels like an obligation.

Be intentional about saying yes. When you feel an urge to please, pause. It will buy you time to assess what’s really behind the question. Was it a request, demand, or just a suggestion? Knowing the answer will quiet your thoughts.

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Understand your bandwidth

Try to document your energy level and your calendar. How much did you have to do? Did saying yes to too many things mean your days were too busy?

Next time someone makes a request, assess your time and energy before taking on more tasks.

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The people pleaser

The people pleaser

There's a high price for continually saying yes to the thing you just don't want to do.

When your top priority is to be liked all the time, you suppress and repress who you are. The good news is that it is a habit you can change.

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Know when you can safely say "no"

  • Over one week, observe how you spend your time and energy. Keep note of how many times you say yes, no, or maybe to a request. Notice and record how each request made you feel.
  • Identify the times you say no and everything still works out fine. This will help you to know how you can respond in the future.
  • The requests that caused you anxiety: Ask yourself what the baggage behind it is. Does it remind you of old hurts and loss? The habit can also be a survival tactic to repress who you are.

Once you know where you can safely say no, try cutting back on saying yes.

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