When to Say No in No-vember


Say no: a woman holding her hands up in front of her with a cringed look on her face.I’m a people pleaser. Saying no is not in my wheelhouse (yet!).

Some people can truly say no and be confident in that decision (Psst, teach me your ways!). I, on the other hand, get sweaty, anxious, and unable to control my words when someone asks me to do something. Automatically I say, “Of course, anyway I can help!”

And maybe this is a good thing. I tend to see it that way for myself. I truly enjoy helping others and seeing someone benefit from something I have done. It’s the positive reinforcement that is perpetuating this feeling for me. I gain a pleasant feeling when I do something for someone, so I just want to do ALL the things for ALL the people.

Always Saying YES

Why is always saying yes not a good thing?

I will admit, that saying yes is not something that benefits my mental health. I often feel depleted, overused, and resentful when I say yes to things that I should’ve said no to. Do you know that feeling?

So, how does a people pleaser go from always saying yes to saying no?

Evaluating Scenarios for Yeses

1. Does it align with your values?

Take some time to look inward and figure out what your values are. Do you value spending time with your family? Do you value exercising? Do you value your work? Then, take a look at the thing that you are saying yes to and decide: does this align with your values or take away from them?

2. Assess your energy level.

Will saying yes to this thing take energy from you that you don’t have to give? Maybe you’ve been working more hours or have been awake with the baby all night, and saying yes would make you feel even worse.

3. Will you regret saying yes?

When you are all said and done, will you feel any regret for saying yes? For example, if you agree to go to dinner with your in-laws at 8:00 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m. and bedtime gets disrupted, are you going to regret going at this later time? If so, it’s better to just say no.

Ways to Say NO

Now, I’m going to teach you how to say no. Ready? Repeat after me:

  • “No, but thanks for thinking of me!”
  • “I can’t do that at this time.”
  • “That’s not going to work with our schedule right now.”
  • “Unfortunately, I’m going to have to pass this time.”

You don’t have to apologize for saying no. You don’t have to give an explanation for your no.

The cool thing is, you don’t even have to say yes or no; you can say maybe! (This brings back memories of my mom saying maybe, which always meant no.) You are allowed to take the time to think about things without committing to them.

Assess your energy level, think about your values, and determine if it’s going to cause feelings of regret or not.

I was recently “challenged” by a good friend to say no to one thing this month. Sounds easy, right? Pick one thing that I can let go of and NOT do. And to be honest, I’m still searching for that one thing, but hoping to find it soon!

What can you say no to this month?

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Amber Weakley
Amber Weakley grew up in Charleston and is happily raising her 2 boys in this beautiful city. She is the Outreach Coordinator for Postpartum Support Charleston where helping other mothers is her life’s mission. After the birth of both of her boys, she struggled with Postpartum Depression and Bipolar 2. Amber is currently in school to become a Licensed Counselor to specialize in Maternal Mental Health. She has been married for 10 years to her high school sweetheart, and fills her cup by doing yoga, journaling, and going on adventures with her family.