Thursday, November 14, 2013

Is It Hard To Say "No"?

Is It Hard To Say “No”?

Do you often agree to do things you don’t want to do?  Do you give in too easily?  Say "yes" when you really want to say "no"?  Here are some common reasons for why it might be difficult for you to say no:

Feeling guilty – as if somehow it’s wrong to choose what's right for you if it conflicts with someone else's wishes or needs.

Feeling greedy – as if it’s greedy to want what you want if someone else wants something different.

Not wanting to come off as difficult – as if saying no makes you difficult and cranky and too much trouble.

Not wanting want to upset anyone – as if you’re responsible for the feelings of others.

Afraid to hurt someone’s feelings – as if what the other person wants, thinks or feels is more important than what you want, think or feel.

That’s related to fear of rejection – as if people won’t like you or want to be your friend if you disappoint them.

Fear of retaliation – as if people will reject/hurt/abandon you if you displease them.

If you say “yes” when you really want to say “no” then you probably feel some resentment, anxiety, or some kind of emotional reaction.   If you don’t express those emotions in words, you’re likely to do so in action: 

*Turning to food for comfort or distraction 
*Bingeing and purging as a way of symbolically ridding yourself of your emotions.
*Restricting as a symbolic way to deny that you feel anything.
*Getting upset at yourself for your weight 

Disordered eating and focusing on weight and body image is a distraction from and an enactment of, these feelings of anxiety, resentment guilt and more.  The answer is to say “no” when people ask you to do something you don’t want to do.  Easier said than done, so here are some guidelines for how to speak up for your truth.

Step One: acknowledge their need or request:  "I know you really need my help, or you'd like me to do this for you or with you…"

Step Two: set the limit.  “...But that doesn't work for me."

Don’t apologize, don’t make excuses, don’t justify or explain.    Do set limits.  And when appropriate, offer alternate suggestions.

If someone asks to borrow money, say, “I understand you’re in a tough place right now, but I make it a rule not to lend money to friends.”  That way it’s not personal; you’re not denying your friend in particular; this is your rule, these are your boundaries that pertain to everyone. 

If someone asks you to babysit their kids and you don’t want to do so, say, “I get that you need some help, but that doesn’t work for me.  Have you asked if so-and-so is available?
If you feel mean or guilty when you turn someone down, or you’re afraid that you’re going to hurt their feelings or they’ll be mad at you, that’s a sign that you’re not valuing your time, your money, your likes and dislikes.   When you devalue yourself, it feels bad, and when you feel bad, you’re more likely to turn to (or from) food for comfort and distraction.

Give yourself the right to have rights – the right to choose yourself in the context of self-care, the right to make your needs and wants just as important as those of other people, the right to set boundaries.

When you are comfortable with those rights, you won’t use food for comfort or distraction.  

And that's how you make peace with food!

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