My favorite day of the year is the day we switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. The clock goes back, giving me a precious extra hour. I always seem to need more time—over the years, my growing people-pleasing tendencies haven’t helped. I don’t recall being in such demand in my 20s.
One of the traps is, like most of us, I think I can do more than I can. This often leads to helping others solve their problems on top of my own. I don’t want to disappoint my children, wanted to meet my parents’ needs as they aged, give a top performance at work, and be available for the committee or organization asking for assistance. So, I agreed to whatever was asked of me; I didn’t want others to think I was selfish and uncaring—something that rarely happens when you turn someone down. But, there are only a certain number of hours in a day, and something had to give. In short, I couldn’t say no.
I realized that I needed to do a better job of setting up and guarding my boundaries. They are key to placing greater emphasis on your self-respect and your goals—and not being an inveterate people-pleaser buried in an avalanche of to-dos.
How I learned to say no comfortably
My overload, perpetual exhaustion and frustration were the impetus for writing The Book of No: 365 Ways to Say it and Mean it―and Stop People-Pleasing Forever. From my research, I learned that you can say no to friends, neighbors, family, coworkers, bosses and even pushy salespeople without hurting feelings or damaging relationships.