Learning to say no.
The relationship we have with ourselves sets the tone for every other relationship in our lives. Practicing self-love is an ongoing commitment to filling up our own cup first, and only then do we have enough to give to others.
This month we’re exploring how learning to say no is fundamental to your self-love practice. Being able to stand in your power means being confident enough in who you are to make decisions about what you want to do and who you want to be.
Putting other people’s needs above your own is one of the biggest blocks to self-love. Trying to please other people and caring too much what other people think takes us away from our main job: filling ourselves up with love. Giving ourselves what we truly need, rather than fitting in with what other people need.
We wonder why we feel heavy, why our lives feel so busy, and the truth is most of us spend so much time doing things we actually don’t want to do.
Doing someone a favour when you didn’t want to, going to that party because you didn’t know how to get out of it, taking extra work on because you felt you had to; these ‘obligations’ weigh us down and make us feel depleted.
Learning to say no to the things that don’t serve you is about acknowledging that you ar e a priority and you come first. This doesn’t mean you need to offend people in the process. It means you have your own boundaries, and you acknowledge when these have been crossed. It is about knowing your value, and choosing to honour that above anything else.
There are going to be some unavoidable situations when we need to do things we’re not crazy about, and that’s ok. But most of the time, we can say no; we’ve just forgotten how to. And although this can feel uncomfortable for some people, saying yes can often be worse, with a heavy feeling of dread as we anticipate what we’ve agreed to doing.
So how exactly do we say no without feeling bad about it?
Be direct; there’s no need to apologise because there’s nothing to be sorry for. Say it in a way that is assertive and firm; practice out loud with a friend if you need to. Be sure of what you are saying.
Be polite but also don’t lie; most people will value your honesty, and for those that don’t – do you really want to spend time with them anyway?
Saying no means we have more time and energy for the things we really want to do. We have more time to fill up our lives with things that make us feel joyful.
Saying no allows us to take back our power. It helps us to remember that we are the ones that get to choose how we lead our lives, and acknowledging that we are the most important chooser is an act of self-love in itself.
Sabi Kerr is a yoga teacher and life coach. It’s her passion to support people in developing deep levels of self-love, so that they can move forwards and create their fullest lives (sabikerr.com)
Discover more throughout the Year of Self-Love with Sabi Kerr.