The art of saying no: Lessons from a carer


"When you say yes to others, make sure you do not say to yourself." ~ Paulo Coelho

There it is again. Another person asks me for help. There is a sharp attraction inside me to stop what I do and see.

And the inner struggle is coming.

I should say yes and help them. What do you need to write a few lines of text? An additional phone call? Not so bad, I say. You are, of course, a caretaker.

My inner voice is so strong. He was with me for a long time, this voice.

Then I feel my shoulders tense. I feel my breathing begins to shorten. And an arrogant feeling assumes. These are the signs of early warning that I get too much.

It took me a while to realize that this happens when I take a lot and I say Yes-And that there's a significant cost to me. It prevents me from doing my work. I am not dedicated and present when I play with my children. I'm short with my husband. Rejects my priorities. And it stops me from taking care of myself.

If the above sounds familiar, then you probably relate to being a natural caregiver. Perhaps you are someone who asks for approval from other people. Maybe you are happy people. You may even describe yourself as a "do-er" I am doing for others, but sometimes, or perhaps always, you just forget They are.

Put the needs of others ahead of yours with the cost of yourself. You thrive in the care of others. You love to give. In fact, you probably keep yourself at high standards, and one of these patterns is that you are giving it to others.

Before my first child was born and even in the first year of my life I continued to give and say yes to others. I was the person who would tell the others: "What do you need? I will do it!" Or "Tell me what you think about that day, I'll be there." Or if someone needed something, help with anything, I would say yes. I would stop my own thoughts, feelings and needs in the hope of making sure that the other person was happy. To ensure that "we" are happy and that "we" are "good".

And then it began to hit me on the days of falling down the long walks with my newborn child – the second child to join our family. With the wind swirling around me, crunching the leaves beneath my legs and stroller wheels and the brightness of the leaf colors, I realized that you gave so much to others to fill my self-esteem. Determining who I am and what I deserve, what I give to others and what can I do for others.

Give more. Be more present for others. Be there for them. This was my mantra.

It's not an unknown role. I'm a clinical psychologist, eventually. It is what I spend the day to take care of others.

My older sister remembers me to be this way since my early years of education. It will tell the story to come to me with its problems, and we will explore ways to solve it or deal with it. I liked to watch others and try to understand their thoughts and feelings as well as their attitudes behind them.

It took me a long time to find my "call" – my strong perception of relationships, how I use my sensitivity and sympathy. I think it is advisable to spend my days helping others to change, to work hard and difficult experiences and to live a life full of meaning and authenticity.

But I've noticed the effect of caring for others all the time. It's a cost. And it was a cost for my own worth. I've kept myself on stiff standards – "If I do not give up then I'm not a good friend." And yet I spend hours working with clients to help them develop more adaptive ways of showing them. I did not support it myself. Would I think of this from my friends? No way. It's "good" as it is, but not me.

I know I'm not alone in this challenge. Most of us struggle to communicate our needs and set healthy limits. And many of us have to investigate the role of caregiving, what it does for us, and how we can find other ways to build our sense of self.

So here's the thing. By winning a picture of this pattern, this behavior, this desire to be in this role, is the first step. I had to figure out what I did and what offered me. If you read this post, you may be identified with the challenge not to say, and be a carer. So here are my eight tips to help you say no.

1. Tune in when you feel overwhelmed.

These signs may be like my own where you experience increased physiological stimulation. Or maybe they are emotional (feelings of frustration, anxiety, hurt), cognitive (keeping rigid thoughts, telling yourself that you are not enough) or even changes in your relationship (reduced sex, increased conversation). Determining your emotional experience will help you determine when you need to change.

2. Recognize that you have different thoughts, feelings and opinions of other people.

You have your own inner experience. And your partner / friend / parent / partner has a distinct inner experience. You are a separate person from the other person in your relationship. It is not for you to change their inner world and it is not for them to change your thoughts or feelings, desires and desires.

You They are responsible, however, for communicating your needs with the other person. If you need room for yourself because you have too much on your plate or maybe you just do not want to do the job, it is your job to communicate this with respect to the other person. More on how to do this in the next step.

3. Start saying no.

You have the right to say no. You do not have the right to be aggressive to someone or to criticize them. "How could you ask me to do this when you know I've gone so long?" This is crucial. You have the right to say no – and you do not have to explain no.

You can give empathy to the difficulties faced by the other person. "I see you have difficulty now." You can also say what can happen the next time. "Next time, maybe we can find a way through it together." And you can express your feelings. "I feel overwhelmed and I am unable to do that".

Note that the exchange of feelings begins with "I." But remember, by saying, "I feel like you do not understand" is not a feeling. Feelings are sad, cheerful, crazy, afraid.

4. If the saying is not difficult, try giving yourself the rule of twenty-four hours.

So often we respond with emotion, and that leads us to excessive passion. If you say not at this time it is really difficult, let the other person know that you will return to them in twenty-four hours. Or, if the request comes via e-mail and is not urgent, allow yourself a day to think about what this request is and how it will impact professionally and personally. Remember, we often overestimate what we can do in a day or even a year.

5. Keep your limits.

If you begin to assert and start to say no and then change your mind, others learn not to take your own seriously. This is not anyone's fault. We all do it at times – we all have our own motivation to ask for help.

A boss who asks you to stay overtime to help with a project? Or ask you to take more work? A partner who wants to complete a homework job? Helping a friend? To say no and to be a broken record, "Unfortunately I am not able to right now", over and over can help you keep this limit.

6. Challenge the internal dialogue or accept it.

If you stay on a template to help others, try to find other ways to view your number. Does a good friend mean you should always give? This will be what the cognitive therapists see as if they think everything or nothing. Can you try to live in the gray?

Displacement perspectives – what would you say to a friend if they were trying to say no? Or maybe you use emotional reasoning – you feel bad, so you say to yourself They are bad. What other ways do you view as important another?

Make this old dialogue. And if you continue to struggle, you may try to bring an acceptance at this old internal dialogue. Surely it's been a long time with you. And I challenge you to ask others if they have the same dialogue!

7. Give yourself permission to fight.

This will not change during the night. You will feel guilty. And it will be difficult.

The best way to deal with guilt is to do exactly what you feel guilty. You feel guilty for not saying that? Say no! If you continue to avoid feeling guilty, the guilt will continue to hit your door. And the way in which others respond to your new attitude, saying no, will not change overnight. In fact, I can predict that if you have been in this role for some time, the other person will not know what to do at the beginning and try to return to the old motifs.

8. Ask for help.

This is a difficult one, especially for someone who constantly helps others. Often we are so busy that we help and respond to others that we minimize our needs and do not know that we also need help in some way.

Help can come in all forms. Maybe you start by setting your thirty-minute hour a week away from the family. Or share a job with someone. You could also try to let others know how you feel.

Learning to say that I did not help to redefine my priorities. This does not mean I always say no, but I allow myself to be flexible.

There are moments I can give and moments I can not. Instead of feeling committed to giving as a symbol of self-esteem, I turned my focus on life connected with what is important to me and to my authentic self. And when we can be authentic with ourselves and those around us, we feel the most connected between our mind and our body.

About Tracy Dalgleish

Dr. Tracy Dalgleish is a clinical psychologist working with individuals and couples. She specializes in helping women find a balance in the multiple roles of their lives. A supervising clinic, gives presentations to providers and health care providers about wellness and mental health. She is mother two, wife and novice yogi. Visit her at drtracyd.com / Instagram.

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