Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Most of us have a hard time saying “no”, at least sometimes.  Since most of want to seem like being a “nice” person, it’s often assumed that saying “no” to someone who needs you isn’t “nice.” But that’s not true! Helping people when you can—when it works for you—is a much healthier version of nice, because it includes your needs too. Every time you say “yes” to someone and agree to do something you don’t want to do, you say “no” to you—to your needs and what YOU want.. And that’s not nice!

Do you wish you could say “no” more often? You absolutely have it in you to adjust your “no” autopilot so you don’t always feel obligated to agree to do things you don’t want to do, especially when they interfere with what you want. First you have to acknowledge that you want to learn to say “no”—I mean really want to do it. It has to matter to you. In my DoorMat days, I always wanted to turn people down but it took me years to want it enough. When you work on building your self-love, it makes it easier.

The more I loved me, the more I wanted to do what was best for me. And that helped me to slowly work on not believing that I had to cater to the world.  There’s usually an underlying fear behind an inability to ever say “no” or even to say it just occasionally or to specific people. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be a people pleaser forever? “ If you don’t, start by pinpointing exactly what makes saying “no” hard. Are you scared of:

* Not being liked? Think about the other reasons that people can like you—all your good qualities. Are you really satisfied with having people who only like you because you do things for them? Remind yourself about how much nicer it is to be liked for you, not for your favors. And it’s impossible to get everyone to like you.

* Losing the person? If you lose someone because you didn’t do them favors, what are you actually losing? True friends will respect your needs too. Having been on both sides, I assure you that it’s more satisfying to have fewer friends but know they care about you than to have a large group of people who have high expectations about what you can do for them?

* Looking bad? Not seeming nice? You don’t have to be a people pleaser to be a nice person. “Nice” and DoorMat are 2 separate concepts, though trying hard to be nice can make you a DoorMat.  Nice people understand that it’s okay to say “no” to requests that don’t work for them or that they don’t want to do or from people who never say “yes” to you—as I called them in my article, the one-way takers.

Then think hard about whether or not it’s really a terrible thing to pass on some requests. Then start small by turning one person down. When you see it doesn’t ruin your life and you feel good not having to do it, let it motivate you to say it more. You don’t even have to use the word “no”, as I explained in my article, Saying “Yes” Slowly. You can get some tips for cutting back on being agreeable in my article, Saying “No” to People Pleaser Prison. The important thing is to get comfortable with turning people down nicely. Then your self-empowerment will blossom!

Join the Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 2013 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE. Join the Self-Love Movement™! on Facebook.

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