A couple of weeks ago, I was pursuing one of the mom groups I am a member of on Facebook. I noticed that one of the ladies posted asking for advice on how to gracefully decline a
demand request from a family member to add an additional child to carpool for camp. My immediate response was “what is there to be graceful about?” Politely inform this person that you cannot take on this commitment in addition to the other things you have already committed to. But, as I saw more and more people responding, I realized I was one of the few people that believed this direct response was the best approach. The suggestions ranged from profusely apologizing to flat out lying about why she couldn’t complete this request – all in the name of not making the other person upset.
But why? Why are you lying about why you can’t or don’t want to do something? Why are you apologizing for not having the capacity to add one more request to your already full plate?
Y’all! I’m here to tell you, stop doing it! Stop apologizing for doing what is best for yourself, your spouse, your family, or just because you don’t want to do it. Stop creating excuses to avoid upsetting people because the reality is, someone is always going to be upset! Whether that is your weird third cousin removed, Susie, who’s angry that you won’t DIY all the decorations to her mom’s 50th birthday next week that she just asked you about or your kid because you did say yes to Susie and now you’re grumpy and short fused with them. Someone is always going to lose. But, you get to decide who that person will be.
I get it, as a nice southern raised girl or really just a girl in general, I know we were all taught to keep the peace at any cost, even if it means self sacrifice. Always put others before you.
But, in the end, the only person who loses is you because a “Yes” to whatever it is, is always a “No” to something else – your husband, your kid, yourself.
I learned this lesson pretty early on. And, I practice it in every aspect of my life – personal, professional, family, friends, and people who I don’t know too well. It’s something my husband really appreciates about me (unless it’s directed at him) because I don’t have a problem telling outsiders what isn’t going to work for me or my family if it is going to throw us off balance.
I’ll admit, it’s really hard to say no at first. You don’t want to disappoint your loved one or be considered non-cooperative in a professional environment. Especially a professional environment that favors men and often looks at women who stand up for themselves as “bossy” or “aggressive.” But I urge you to simply try it. The amount of power and relief and self satisfaction you feel when you stick to your boundaries without regret will feel AMAZING! And every time you do it, it gets a little easier. And you realize that the world is still turning, even if you did tell Susie that you couldn’t do those DIY decorations. And the bonus: your sanity is still in tact!