Mental Health Wellness

Saying No: How to Cope When You’re Being Pulled in Many Directions

November 12, 2019

Saying No: How to Cope When You’re Being Pulled in Many Directions

Hi I’m Karen Williams. I am a mental health provider for CHI Health, and I’d like to talk to you a little bit today about being pulled in 8, 10, 12, 1000 different directions!

It’s Okay to Say No

When people come to a therapist and ask about these kinds of things, typically one of the questions that gets asked by the therapist is, “Can you say no?” Actually, a lot of people can’t. A lot of people want to be perfect at everything, they want to be well-liked, and they want to show up and be engaged all the time. Well that’s a great idea, but it’s an exercise in futility.

No One is Perfect, and That’s Okay!

We can always try to be our best, but being perfect is not going to happen. Sometimes it ends up causing frustration, depression, sometimes anxiety, and that’s not helpful for any of us.

4 Ways to Answer a Request

When I ask people to practice saying no, I give them these options to answer with:

  • No
  • Yes
  • Maybe
  • I’ve changed my mind

Sometimes when people are used to saying yes all the time, and then they leave the situation and say, “Oh my gosh, I should have said no!” So they might have to call back and say something like, “I looked at my calendar, and I can’t. I’m so sorry maybe another time.”

If you find yourself saying yes to something and you can, that’s great! But it’s always okay to re-check your calendar and then call back and tell them you’ve changed your mind. Or when somebody asks you to do something, and you’re not sure or you’re not quite comfortable saying no, say maybe! Practice it see what you think!

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