Have you spouted out a solid “NO” yet today? How about yesterday? Last week?
It’s the Holidays and as much as we all want things perfect, in actuality, it can be a tense time. There are long lists of errands to run. There are multiple demands on your time. There are far too many people’s opinions to take into account for the dinner menu, the guests, the time, the gifts, and all the other details to plan a “perfect” holiday event.
Regardless of how you celebrate the holidays and whether you love or hate them, there is added stress not present the rest of the year. It’s a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Not if you open your mouth and say that two- letter word you’re screaming on the inside. Say it. Say “no.”
Say things like, “No. I’m sorry. I wish I could help you with the children’s school play this year. I’m going to have to pass.”
Or maybe you need to say, “Thanks for the invite to your Christmas party. I so appreciate being included. Unfortunately, we can’t make it this year.”
Possibly your “no” might be about setting limits on gifts and holiday purchases. Maybe what needs to be said is “I would love to exchange gifts with everyone in the family, but this year the budget just isn’t going to cover it. Let’s look at that again next year.”
It’s not critical that the actual word “no” be included in your sentence. Nor is it necessary for you to defend and explain why you can’t make the party or won’t host dinner this year. In fact the less said about why, the less likely you are to cave and be talked out of your response. Just find the simplest, nicest way of saying “no” showing appreciation to others and still protecting your own boundaries.
Saying “no” doesn’t have to be harsh and selfish. Nor does it have to be overly apologetic and guilty. The word “no” is an important element of difficult conversations and a small word with a huge impact. Neglecting to use this powerful word to set your limits and protect your time or your money or your energy will undoubtedly leave you giving too much of yourself away.
Start this holiday with a gift to yourself. Say “no” when that’s what your instincts are screaming inside. Say “no” when there is too much on your plate, or you just aren’t interested in the activity. Practice by saying “no” to one request each day, no matter how small. All totaled up, those little limits you set will leave you feeling lighter, less stressed and more in the spirit the holidays are all about.
Remember, difficult conversations mean saying, not thinking, what is true for you.