Tell me if this sounds familiar:  Someone asks you to do something that you really don’t want to do but instead of saying no, you find yourself saying “yes.”  Sound familiar?

This definitely sounds familiar to me.  In fact, this week alone I’ve already done it three times!  So why do we do this to ourselves?

Why do we say “yes” when we really want to say “no?”

For many of us, myself included, we were taught at a young age that saying “no” was rude or inappropriate behavior and so we learned early on that “yes” was the polite thing to say.

As adults, we’ve held onto those beliefs and we end up saying yes to be polite, to avoid conflict in our relationships, to earn praise from others and ultimately, to show our love and support.

While these are certainly valid reasons to say yes, if we’re saying yes when we really want to say no, we are robbing ourselves of the ability to choose what is in our own best interest.  In other words, we are not respecting our own boundaries.

Boundaries help define our personal space but if you’ve ever tried to set good boundaries, you know it’s not the easiest thing to do, especially with loved ones.   When you don’t have good boundaries, that’s when you end up saying yes, yes, yes instead of no, no, no.

The holidays can be an especially difficult time to maintain good boundaries.  Although this is the season of giving, if you are giving too much, it’s easy to overextend yourself and maybe even start to feel resentful.

When I am struggling to say no, I find it helpful to ask myself these questions:

1.  Am I saying yes because it feels right for me or am I saying yes because I’m afraid to say no?

2.  If I say yes, how much of my time am I willing to give and what, if anything, will I need to give up?

3.  If I say no, am I okay with choosing my needs over someone else’s?

Obviously, no one likes to say no but the ability to do so is an important aspect of your own well-being.  It’s an indication that you understand the value of your time and your energy but most of all, it’s an indication that you can articulate what is important to you.

In the end, we cannot control others’ behavior but we can control our own.  So, as we head into the final weeks of this holiday season, be sure to take care of YOU and if that means saying no, that’s okay.