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Obligations and Shoulds When to Say No


I have written a number of blog posts on the art of saying no.  Sometimes the real battle comes with when to say no. We have so many obligations, so many ‘shoulds’, it is hard to recognize when we can say no. But if you are filling all your time up with obligations and shoulds it is time to do a inventory of yourself and how you are spending your time.

So the next time you are confronted with a Do you want to….? Simply say let me get back to you and then ask yourself these questions.

Who will I be helping by doing this activity?

Your kids
Your spouse
Your boss
Someone you love
Someone who drives you crazy
Someone who would do it for you in a heart beat
Someone who wouldn’t do it for you if it were reversed

Really pay attention to who you will be helping or WHO you are doing the activity for.  It might appear it is for the PTA but really it is for your kids. Or it might appear you are helping a neighbor but really it is so you won’t feel guilty later so you are helping yourself–which is ok but helpful to be honest about it. Get clear on who you are helping. 

Why am I doing this activity?

it will be fun
I am required
“A good mom” would…
I will feel guilty if I don’t
it will make me smile
it will make me feel needed
to laugh
to blow off steam
keeps me active so I don’t have to be at home alone

If you find yourself saying yes a lot and you don’t know why ask yourself this question. This question really takes an honest answer–too often we say yes out of obligation, to avoid guilt or to fulfill some need inside.  When we are constantly saying yes when we don’t want to–the answer is usually here.

What will I get out of doing this activity?

A headache
A chance to decompress
Time with my child
Time doing my passion

Too often the answer to this is a negative one.  When we always say yes to activities no matter what we get out of them, we are so exhausted we miss really engaging in the fun joyful activities. When we can pick and chose more activities that feed us and less activities that drain us we can truly enjoy the fun and joy. 

How will I feel after I do this activity?

Checked out
Tired but Grateful

Sometimes the idea of doing the activity sounds painful but how we will feel after it is amazing.  For example, working out, meditating, or going on a walk, these activities usually don’t sound like fun but after we do them we get a great feeling.

I would love to hear from you in the comments; How do you decide whether or not to say yes to something? Do you get stuck in obligation and shoulds?

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