I say “yes” to everyone and it is really starting to wear me out. How do I say no without feeling anxious or bad?
Dear Feeling Anxious,
I have met a lot of people who fall into this pattern at some point or another. Let’s call upon the GBT Gods and ask them to help us process this issue. CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a way to “retrain your brain” little by little. By following the steps below, you’ll be able to identify your thoughts and feelings with a little more clarity. Tip: There is a good chance that negative thoughts and negative emotions are fueling your need to say yes. By recognizing this pattern, you can learn to shift your behaviors, thoughts and emotions to patterns that are more favorable to you.
Grab a pen and paper and jot down your answers to these questions:
1. Describe the situation:
Example: My friend asked me to help him move. We have been friends a long time and I don’t want to let him down. But, I really don’t have the energy to help him move.
2. If I say no, what thoughts come to mind:
Example: If I tell him no then he will definitely be mad at me and I worry that this negatively impact our friendship. What if he doesn’t want to be friends anymore? This could be the last straw for him.
3. When I think about these thoughts, it makes me feel ________ (adjective). Example: Worried and scared.
4. Identify the facts that I know are true.
Example: We have been friends for 5 years. Friendships don’t usually end over one issue.
5. Use the facts that you identified to create healthier thoughts.
Example: If I say no he might be mad at me temporarily, but we have gone through worse. We have a pretty strong friendship and he knows that I’ve been exhausted lately. I know I can support him in other ways.
6. When I think about the situation this way, it makes me feel ________ (adjective).
Example: Less worried and relief.
Next time you have an issue that you are having a difficult time with, call upon CBT and follow these 6 steps. Good luck!