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Author- Heather Gee, Founder & Director of The Urbane Flower Project
How many times have you found yourself over-committing to be there for your friends; help your co-workers; or even support family members? And, you did so even though you were already overwhelmed and stretched to capacity trying to keep your own stuff together. It's not a great space to be in, but we've all been there before.
I know I have. I remember going through an entire day once helping a friend unpack her life when I hadn't even begun to organize my own. What I've come to learn is that most of us take so much on because we are natural givers. Being a giver is not something we do out of obligation as much as it's our genuine desire to want to help out. What I've also learned is that as givers, we tend to be the super hero in all of our relationships.
We are the super daughter, sister, friend, and lover. And just like super heroes, we always feel obligated to save the day with the "yes" on our chest. We strap on our cape of over-commitment and stretch our emotions to capacity. At the very end of the day, after saving everyone else, we haven't anyone to save us.
But... back to reality.
For some reason, we have been programmed to believe that saying "no" makes us a bad person, or the villain. It's as if saying "no" makes us rude, selfish, or unkind. So, we end up saying "yes" out of fear of rejection and wanting to be well-liked. We want to save the day. The problem is that we don't set appropriate boundaries which leaves the door wide open for takers, the vice of any super.
We should understand how this behavior is a vice that compels many of us into saying “yes” to the wrong things (i.e., bad relationships, unfair commitments, etc.). A vice that also leaves us instantly feeling drained, overwhelmed and energy depleted.
Yes, it sounds funny, but it's so important that we understand how saying "no" can help us power up. As women, we grow tired of expending too much of our time and energy on people who take advantage of it. Even the ones who did so over and over again because we allowed them to.
Last month’s 'TUF Words: Healing Through HerStory' was an influential gathering with the superwomen of Atlanta. Our guest moderator, Magdalene the Self-Care Warrior, gave us practical ways to tap into one of the most underused super powers hidden in our self-care arsenal. The power of saying “no.” And, we learned a few ways to save ourselves and choose our battles more wisely.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
Need more ways to say no? Here's a list of Magdalene's recommended reads:
Fifty+ Ways to Say No
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
Say No So You Can Say Yes