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How to Say No ... After You’ve Said Yes

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Last week I felt terrible. I’d made plans with my client/friend LeeAnn to go to Chicago to decorate her new apartment.


I was so excited. I love being flown to Chicago to shop with someone else’s money. Definitely ALL over that!


The two weeks prior to my trip were chocked full. My mother-in-law was visiting from Italy. I shot a TV pilot. I spent a week in North Carolina. I co-hosted a friend’s Birthday Tea in our home. We went to parties. We’ve had back-to-back company. I’ve barely seen my husband in a month. And now I need to fly to Chicago (with the rest of LeeAnn’s stuff!). IT’S TOO MUCH!


But I can’t say “No!”


Can I? I mean … I committed to Chicago. I have to go. What about the ticket? What about LeeAnn’s disappointment? What about her stuff? But … What about Me? I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept in three nights. I don’t want to go to Chicago feeling tired and resentful. And I HATE leaving my husband … again! Crap! What am I gonna do?


Have you ever said “yes” when you need to say “no”?


Even if you WANT to do something! (If it’s a big ol’ SHOULD or you’re simply AFRAID to say “no,” same rules apply.)


I’m a big supporter of contracts and agreements. Dr. Pat Allen says, “Making and keeping commitments is how we know we truly love ourselves and others.”


So the first question to ask yourself is: “Who is my commitment to?”


If you’re a Feminine ingénue …


1. Your First Commitment is to Yourself


Feminine energies create off feelings. So if you FEEL like you’ve gotten yourself IN to something you need to get OUT of … consider this:


Taking care of yourself is your first responsibility.


As difficult as it was to call LeeAnn and say, “No, I’m not coming,” it would have been more difficult to go. I would not have been the person I wanted to be in Chicago at that time. And we BOTH would have paid for it.


2. Sometimes We Need to Say “Yes” to Better Understand Our “No’s”


I’m always searching for the “pendulum” balance. Often I find my pendulum needs to swing past my comfort level before I recognize where my balance is. (This can be in ANY scenario … like, I’ve eaten too many donuts or I’ve had sex too soon and need to step back.)


In this case, I’d over-estimated myself. I thought I could “love life” doing EVERYTHING I wanted and still feel good. I couldn’t. I had to say “No.”


When you have to say “No,” set up a conversation with the other person. Start with, “There’s something I need to speak to you about. Is now a good time?” (Hopefully they’ll say “yes” … if not, arrange another time.)


3. It’s Not About Them, It’s About YOU!


Let them know it’s not personal.


Tell them, “I love you; I think you’re great; you’re doing everything right, etc … but there’s something I need to do … and that is cancel, reschedule or break the commitment.”


4. Don’t Make Excuses … Speak From the Heart


Come from the heart and speak truthfully. (They’ll know if you’re lying anyway!) My experience is that people don’t argue with the truth. They may not like it. They may try to change your mind. But they don’t argue with it.


Say something like, “I know I agreed to (do this, have that, be whatever) but I’m not able to do it because I’ve (over-committed, under-estimated myself or it doesn’t FEEL right.)”


5. No Favor Goes Unpunished


If you do it anyway, you’ll pay for it. You’ll resent them. Or punish them (or worse, punish yourself) in a negative, inappropriate and destructive way. It’s called “passive/aggressive behavior.” (And don’t act like you’ve never done it. You’re not THAT holy.)


As bad as I felt about disappointing LeeAnn, I told her I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be in Chicago and I needed to re-schedule.


By being honest with yourself and saying, “no” to others, you spare them from your wrath. And that’s being kind and loving.


6. Love Them, but Love Yourself More


The Feminine mantras are “I do for me for you” and “I FEEL good to DO good.”


(Affirm these mantras daily, girls!)


A self-centered feminine ingénue is balanced, anchored and gets what she wants by knowing what she doesn’t want. And that means knowing how to say “No.”


Selfish people only care about what they want and not about anyone else. Self-less women give to others before their own needs. NEWS FLASH … Masculine men do NOT fall in love with Women who GIVE too much! (Yes, really!)


Although this isn’t a “romantic” story, it is about relationships. In healthy relationships (friendship, family, work or romance), there are boundaries and there are times to say “no” … not only for the betterment of yourself, but for the relationship as well.


BTW … Later, LeeAnn admitted it was fine I didn’t join her because she’s met so many new people … including a new man! Now that’s a happy ending!

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