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People pleasing pleases everyone but you -- saying no for optimal health

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We all struggle with too many things to do in 24 hours. If that struggle causes feelings of guilt or sadness, it's time to say no. Women struggle with saying no more than men, and usually feel lingering guilt when they do. When women are asked to do something they don't want to do or will have difficulty doing, you may hear a no eventually, but more likely you will hear a long list of excuses softening their no. This is seldom true with men. They have a much more effective no, and no means no. It rarely means I would like to, but maybe if you talk me into it, maybe if you continue until I feel guiltier, or that it won't be too difficult.

The main reason people struggle with an inability to say no is a co-dependence, meaning they are experts at giving to others and trying to make things better, and asking little in return. Another common reason is an inner sense of not being good enough; they know what they want, but cannot express themselves. Realizing you have given up bits of you in your relationships to be accepted is the final reason, and that usually means you are resentful. Resentfulness causes you guilt, which continues the cycle of saying yes.

If you feel like a pushover instead of a kind, compassionate person, it's time to get balance back into your life.

The first step is to realize when you say yes when you really want to say no, you aren't being honest or considerate. You are worrying about how the other person will perceive you. Take back you and advocate for what is best for your health.

PAUSE. Don't answer them immediately. Giving yourself time to actually consider whether you can do the tasks they're requesting will help you decide how to answer them, as well as yourself, with honesty.

Before you answer their request, ask yourself these questions:

• Am I agreeing because I feel pressured or because I want to help with this?

• What am I giving up in order to complete this task?

• Will I be resentful or angry with them or myself if I do this?

Suggestions for you to begin saying YES to you without regret for saying NO to others:

1. Stop neglecting your needs. This includes exercising, taking time to fix healthy meals and me time.

2. Begin slowly. If you accomplish saying no to someone once a week and take that time to nap, read, or socialize with friends, that is a huge accomplishment.

3. Stop trying to be nice by saying yes, and instead add moments of kindness whenever you can. Random acts of kindness when you can are just as nice as saying yes to everyone and growing resentful because you have no time for you.

4. Include the whole family and let go. When family members are honest with one another and tell each other directly when they are overwhelmed or frazzled, you encourage them to work together so no one person is left feeling as though they have to take care of everyone else.

We all have to do things we don't want to do. However, when you are constantly doing for others and neglecting your own needs, it leads to poor mental and physical health. Part of self-care is the ability to care and nurture you.

– Mary Jo Rapini

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