It’s only two letters long and has the power to change our future, yet it is one of the hardest words in the English language for people to say.  The word is “no”.  And, when people do use it, often they feel guilty for saying it.  

When people speak about their guilt of telling someone no, or for not completing something they told someone they would, I actually pull out the dictionary and read them the true definition of the word “guilt.”  

guilt /ɡilt/ noun  1. the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.

I like to read this out loud and ask the client to tell me the crime or offense they committed. They quickly realize that there has been no crime committed, but it doesn’t help the fact that they feel bad for letting others down.  This is especially difficult for those who are “helpers,” whose life revolves around doing things for others.  However, even the helper comes to a place in their life where they realize they cannot do everything for everybody around them. 

When guilt begins to well up, anxiety sets in, and you find yourself struggling to say the word “no,” put your situation through the true definition of the word guilt.  Ask yourself these three things: 

Did I really commit an offense or a crime by saying no? Did you honestly do something wrong or did it just feel uncomfortable to say no? I like to think of church ministry, how some people say yes to everything because they feel if they don’t the task won’t get done. However, if you really think about it, your saying no creates an opportunity for someone else to say yes and to use their gifts and heart to serve. 

Was me changing my position on this or my saying no a healthier response to the situation? Sometimes saying yes causes you more stress, more strain, and takes away your personal balance. When you overcommit or commit to things that are not in your wheelhouse, you cause unnecessary pressure on your own life. It affects your attitude, and when your attitude changes it affects your job, your relationships and your family. When your saying yes to everything starts to steal your joy, it’s time to say no. 

Apply the rule of 10 and ask yourself, is this going to matter in 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months or 10 years?  Chances are you won’t even remember that you were feeling tension about a situation 10 days from now, let alone 10 years. But it’s always a good idea to put your decision to the test and ask yourself if this decision will affect you in 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months or 10 years.  If the answer is yes to 10 years, then find a way to work through it, but if they answer is that it won’t, then say no with confidence and move on.

Join me this coming Wednesday, July 29 at 7pm PDST for my Facebook LIVE!


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