Finding time might begin for you, today, with finding the courage to say No. Maybe your schedule and To Do List are jam-packed, and adding one more thing will throw everything else out-of-whack. But saying no to a request (or a demand) for your time can present challenges.
Sometimes, refusing to engage in low-priority activities and commitments is quite easy, isn’t it? You’re direct and you set limits clearly. Furthermore, the results speak for themselves. You exercise positive control over much of your day.
But every so often, the refusal may get caught in your throat. Your chest tightens, and… you’re just scared to death to say no.
How do you handle situations like this when they arise in your life now? Try a quick quiz to broaden your understanding of how you approach stressful demands. Note how often you resort to each of these actions, using “0″ for “never” and 5 for “always”:
“When I feel scared to death to say No, I:
_____ Push my misgivings aside and charge blindly ahead.
_____ Mutter about how impossible the other person is.
_____ Criticize myself for feeling so apprehensive.
_____ Hint that my refusal is the other person’s fault.
_____ Postpone the big talk until the ideal time, like never.”
If your score is 0-5, saying No isn’t much of a problem for you – unless you’ve figured out yet another self-defeating stratagem to avoid the issue!
But what if your score is higher? In that case, your avoidance of saying No probably hurts you even more than you comprehend. Anger simmers, and relationships and self-esteem become more fragile. Over time, anxieties compound. Paralyzing fear takes quite a toll.
There’s another way to handle this impasse. To do so, you must break outworn promises you made to yourself long ago!
Today we’ll explore 3 powerful questions to help break the chokehold that fear has on your assertiveness. Ask them as often as you need to. And let the answers bubble up, as you listen to each response. They will be brimming with useful information for you!
1. What is the origin of my fear of saying No? Compassionately see the younger you, who had fewer options than you do now. Think how much stronger and more autonomous you are today! Is there any friendly message that you can offer to the part of you that is stuck in the past?
2. What made silence my safest choice back then? Perhaps your course of action really was the best option you had at the time. At any rate, it can be helpful to understand how your current difficulty is based in approaches that once made a lot of sense to you. You are then much less likely to judge yourself as weak. Also, consider how circumstances have changed.
3. How does this fear of saying No trap me now? Seeing all the ways your old promises to yourself hold you back helps you replace your outworn approach with a more appropriate one.
Does this help as you strive to set meaningful time boundaries and find more time? Stay tuned … in an upcoming post, we’ll explore 3 simple strategies for putting these fears behind you!
Are you inspired to find time and increase your effectiveness, efficiency and enjoyment?© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.