The fastest way to reclaim your life

fastest way to reclaim your lifeHow many years of your life have you spent “Yessing?”

Yes to the friend who always borrowed clothes and returned them with stains.

Yes to the boy who suggested you would be so much prettier if you had longer hair and lost a few inches from your thighs.

Yes to the teachers, parents and authority figures – not because they always knew best, but because they had more power.

Yes to the endless list of expectations you choose to place on yourself.

Yes to agreeing to help anyone and everyone, even if it means that your self-care flies out the window and leaves you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.

Yessing yourself into a corner?

Me too.

Approval addiction

I grew up believing that if I did what was expected of me all the time and what others wanted me to do all the time – life would be perfect.

There would be no arguments, no cross-purposes, less stress and more importantly, people would like and love me, forever.

(I think we all know how this fairy tale ends).

People pleasing, perfectionism and approval addiction.

A lifetime of Yessing ends up squelching the spirit, and ultimately leaves you living a lie.

One where you are disconnected from your own self-knowledge and self-respect – two very precious commodities.

I’ve learnt the hard way (also known as the best way), that you also lose the respect of others.

By failing to set firm personal boundaries, you end up feeling used and mistreated. It’s easy to blame others for feeling manipulated, but let’s be honest about who is perpetuating the cycle here.

So, how do you jump off the Yes merry-go-round?

What’s the fastest way to reclaim your life?

By learning how to say No.

The fastest way to reclaim your life.

Using the word ‘No’ purposefully, requires a certain level of self-awareness.  If you have spent most of your life being a ‘Yes’ person, chances are, you are a bit cloudy when it comes to weighing up your own priorities.

Be patient and kind with yourself, and employ the following quick tips:

  • Start by observing how you respond to requests.  What is your internal reaction?  What are you feeling when you say Yes or No to someone?  Do you like or dislike the way you were asked? Is it an issue of time or money? Are you concerned that if you say No in this instance, you will miss out on an opportunity?  Take a mental note of your emotional reasons for saying No. This will help you enormously in figuring out when it’s right for you to say Yes and when it’s time to use your No.
  • Never say Yes when you mean No.  If it’s hard (and it will be when you start out) – take a pause. Ask for a minute to think about that. Tell the person you will get back to them shortly. Whatever you do – resist the urge to say Yes immediately!
  • Never say Yes when you intend on saying No later.  (I know this is another one of our people pleasing tricks!). Saying ‘Yes’ and then changing your mind later is a cop-out.  It always ends in angst and its a lie – to yourself and others.  That’s no way to live and no way to earn self-respect.
  • Turn to technology. If saying ‘No’ in person seems like an impossible feat,  use an email or a text message.  Some will call this a cowardly act. I don’t recommend that you rely on this method – however, there are occasions when you just need to do whatever it’s going to take to get you to the next level.
  • Practice. The fastest way to reclaim your life is via baby steps! If your usual ‘No’ sounds like a quiet murmur,  followed by a long-winded apology – drop the explanation and try a firm, but polite ‘No’ or, ‘That’s not going to work for me, sorry.’ Then move on.

So, over to you.   Do you find it challenging to turn people down?  How is that affecting your life? Or, are you an expert at handling a purposeful ‘No’?

Comment below.

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  1. Tara says

    These tips are great Kirri!!! I will be remembering them next time I’m faced with the choice! Especially the how do you feel inside tip.

    I am such a yes person! I struggle still saying no but some days are easier the others!
    Being a yes person has caused broken friendships when I’ve finally snapped and realised what I had been doing and tried to stop it :(
    Just last night I almost said yes when I really didnt want to! Luckily for me it was best friend so was able to say no.
    In saying that though I will always follow a no with an “I’m so sorry” and feel super guilty! So I am very much a work in progress because I know it’s ok to say no but I always feel bad… The joys of being a people pleaser!

    • Kirri @ Kirri White Coaching says

      It takes one to know one hey Tara :)
      I’ve only recently learnt the art of saying No and it is something I had to practice and grow into – I’m still working on it, but I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure – when you are able to set boundaries and use your No without feeling intense guilt and anxiety….it feels sooo good!

  2. says

    I love the idea of focusing on your body and the way it reacts when someone asks you a question that you feel obligated to say yes too. You can really feel it when you genuinely don’t want to do something. Such fantastic tips on how to reclaim your truth!

    • Kirri @ Kirri White Coaching says

      Thanks Penny. Our bodies are another compass – pretty reliable as well!

  3. says

    I must admit, I thought using technology was a cop out. But the other alternative was to stay passive until I just got angry with myself for not cornering myself into saying yes.
    I know I certainly need to be more assertive and be honest with myself before saying yes.

    • Kirri @ Kirri White Coaching says

      You can definitely over-rely on technology and use it as a cop out but I think it is ok used as a final resort – particularly when first starting out with saying NO.

      Being honest with ourselves all the time is tough.

  4. says

    Approval and acceptance are definitely key factors in my saying yes to others. I do day it to willingly and have made a conscious effort to stop and think before that habitual yes comes out of my mouth. I have said no on several occasions and you know what? I think I got more acceptance/respect for doing so, once I stated my reasons. Stopping an thinking how you feel is a great way to re-tune ones self to stop the habitual yes.

    • says

      It’s interesting isn’t it Stacey – how we can go out of our way to appease and please everyone and still not get the approval we are looking for. Yet when we stand in our power and begin clearing up our boundaries, we gain our own self-respect and that’s more than enough.

  5. says

    I love this post Kirri, as with all of your posts. This was me for most of my life, always saying yes (when I really meant no) until it would get all too much and I would implode. Since having my babies and starting on my business journey its something I’m becoming better at. It does take practice though, but its truly empowering and so freeing when we can stand in our power, do that which our soul truly desires, come from a place a love and gratitude for us and everyone around us, and recognize that if others don’t like it, well that’s truly none of my business.
    Love and gratitude beautiful lady
    Megan oxox

    • says

      That experience of implosion – oh we are such familiar friends :)

      Becoming a mum can be a birthplace of consciousness. When you are at the beck and call of little ones, you soon realise just how thin you have stretched yourself for all those years and somethings got to give!

      BTW – So grateful to have you here in my space and in my life x

  6. says

    Kirri – this is gold for me right now, thank you! I have struggled with perfectionism and approval addiction for so long. Great advice. I love that list of reclaiming. I read it twice – so good! Love love love your work. xx

  7. says

    This is just the right words I needed to read Kirri. I am so good at saying “yes” all the time. I grew up with the idea that saying “yes” would make me a good person and that saying “no” would make me a bad one (obvioulsly). Till I realized I was living a pure and perfect lie, I was lying to myself and others. And I couldn’t find how to stop the machine.
    I am slowly learning to say “no”. It’s very hard but I am noting every “victory” in a notebook. It shows me that I count, that I have the right to say that something doesn’t feel right to me.
    I know that I have many progresses to make. But I am on the road and I will not turn back.
    Stay well and inspired Kirri.

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