A few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I’d like to partner with her on a project.
The project itself sounded AH-mazing, and I really wanted to be part of it. But, it would be a serious time commitment on my part, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to give her project the time and attention it deserved.
So I let her know the timing wasn’t right for me, and should things slow down in the future and the opportunity is still there, I’d love to get involved.
Then, I held my breath waiting for her reply. I was worried I disappointed her, or she’d be angry with me. But, much to my relief, she was neither angry nor disappointed. Instead, she said she understood and to let her know when/if I’d like to get involved and we could pick up the conversation then.
Phew! What a relief!
You see, in the past, I would have said yes to her. And then I would have done my best to give 100% of myself, but with an already full plate (kids, this blog, freelance, work, life) I would have eventually dropped the ball – probably sooner rather than later. And then we’d both be disappointed in the outcome.
Sometimes it’s hard to say no, especially if we feel like we’ll disappoint someone in the process. But, it’s also empowering and necessary so you don’t stretch yourself too thin, overwhelm yourself with a never-ending to-do list, or neglect your own calling in the process.
If this resonates with you, and you struggle to say no to things even though you know you should, here are 5 ways you can say no (starting today!) to what doesn’t serve your soul:
1.) I don’t have time
All of us have a finite amount of time available on this planet, yet oftentimes we stretch ourselves too thin. We say “yes” to things we don’t have time for, and we should say no to.
And in the process, we end up sacrificing the things we really want to do or need to do for ourselves.
That’s why it’s CRUCIAL to admit to yourself and others when you don’t have the time to take on any more commitments.
This simple, and honest response will keep you from overcommitting yourself and your time. And you’ll be able to honor the things your soul is calling you to do, rather than the things you feel obligated to do.
2.) I have other plans
Have you ever been asked to do something you knew you couldn’t do because you had other plans, but you agreed to do it anyway?
Yeah, me too. And it’s not a fun situation to be in.
Rather than backing yourself into a corner, be honest from the get-go. If you have plans (with someone else, or YOURSELF) say you already have plans, and won’t be able to make it.
This way, you don’t end up promising to do something you don’t want to do, or can’t do.
3.) I’ve got too much on my plate right now
If you’re already knee-deep in life and have too much going on to even think about taking on another ask, then don’t.
If you try to, you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious. Don’t do that to yourself — it’s far better to do less, and feel joyful about it than to do more and feel miserable about it.
As Osho once said, “Life is a balance between rest and movement.” Remember those words each time you’re tempted to overcommit.
4.) I’m learning to limit my commitments
Anyone else wanna shout ‘AMEN‘ upon reading #4? I know I do.
It’s SO hard to say no to something when you know you could make time for it, but don’t necessarily want to. When we’re in this position, we end up feeling guilty because we feel like we should do whatever is being asked of us since we technically can.
Whenever you’re in this situation, say “I’m learning to limit my commitments so at this time, I can’t do (insert).” And don’t feel guilty about it! Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Especially if you don’t feel called to do it!
5.) I won’t be able to give 100% of myself to (insert)
People always say honesty is the best policy right? And it’s true.
That’s why when you know you can’t give 100% of yourself to whatever is being asked of you, be honest about it!
Let whoever is asking you know you’re not able to be all in at this point in time, and as such you can’t commit to it.
Here’s the bottom line: We all have a finite amount of time to experience life. We must honor ourselves and our time by learning to say no to everything that doesn’t serve our soul so we can make room for what does.