Stress is killing people. Guilt is not far behind. In between those two extremes is a simple word: “No.” Getting that word out is the hard thing. We hint, we beat around the bush, we psychologize. We stay mad because we couldn’t say that word. We avoid certain people and events because we can’t say that word. Business leaders, parents, pastors, and politicians all have a difficult time saying that word. Your world will change when someone shows you how to say “No.” I’ve battled it for years. After all, they’re my friend. What if I ruin a relationship? Didn’t Christ teach me to serve? What if their reputation tells me that what they borrow will never be returned? How can I add another thing to an already overloaded schedule? Stress or guilt?
Here are a few helpers to help you get that word out:
1. “I’ve already said “No” to others and if I did it for you they would never understand”
- We say “no” based on a principle and not on a person. If we lived by our values, most of our decisions would already be made!
- No, you cannot forfeit your family time. That individual demanding you leave your family at a critical moment would be the first to accuse you if your family fell apart.
- Explain to them that your previous commitments (or refusals) have put you in a bind. Others, and your family, would never understand. In a word, “No.”
2. “I’ll have to check with my schedule and spouse before I can commit to doing that.”
- What’s wrong with that? Is there any reason we have to make an on the spot decision when they surprised you in their appeal?
- Giving a person a time you can answer (“tomorrow morning”) is perfectly fine. You can send your answer any number of ways. It’s the face to face, spur of the moment request that gets you every time.
3. “I’d better take a rain check on that one”
- A rain check is something being postponed until a later date. You do not have to explain. You may be tired. You may not have the money. The reason stays with you.
- No one can manage your stress but you. If you don’t manage it, your family pays the price. For their sake, “No.”
4. “That’s not something I prioritize”
- Never feel compelled to fulfill someone else’s dream for your life. From hobbies to multi-level businesses, people see you as companionship or profit.
- If you don’t live by your priorities, someone else will set them for you. When you allow guilt to make you say “Yes” you are closing the door to many other things God has called you personally to do. Wish them well, pray for their success, but don’t participate out of guilt. “No.”
These are a few starters. Learn all four so you can easily choose the one you need in the moment of the request. Your spouse, your family, and your body will thank you for it!
QUESTION: What is the request you have the hardest time managing? How have you learned to say “No”?
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