Sometimes I feel like a 2 year old because I say No to so many things. But I find that if we don’t learn (or remember) how to say no, we can get stuck doing a lot of things we don’t want to be doing, and that can take its toll on our stress level. I have found that saying no can be part of self-care, and self-care is essential in life after cancer and just overall wellness in general. We can only do so much in our lives…we don’t have time for everything, which means we sometimes have to say no, even when someone else really wants us to do something.
Cancer Patients are Pros at No
What I have found in my work with cancer survivors is that most of us got pretty good at saying no when we were going through treatment. “No” became essential. You had a good reason to say no to things you didn’t want to do or didn’t have the energy to do. We didn’t even have to really “learn” how to say no, it just came naturally when we were going through treatment. We often didn’t feel well enough or have enough energy to say yes to things like working overtime, serving on committees, participating in fundraising events, babysitting on a week night, making two different dinners for two different kids…all the things we might usually say yes to because it’s what we always do, what we think we should do, or we feel obligated in some way.
Find Ways to Say No
When treatment is over, we need to find ways to say no, just like we did when we were going through cancer treatment. We can still “play the C card” even though we are done with treatment. You earned, so you can play it. You can say, “I won’t be able to go this weekend, because I’m not feeling up to it.” If you don’t need to explain why, then don’t. But if you value the relationship and need to soften the blow when someone asks you to do something, you can say you’re not feeling up to it.
When to Say No
You know inside when you really want to say no to something. You notice that when you hear the request, your eyes roll, or your eyes close and you sigh…something like that, right? Or you get irritated or annoyed. Try noticing what happens inside you when you don’t want to do something someone is requesting of you.
Consider the Consequences Consciously
Consider what will happen if you say no…what’s the worst that can happen? Will it actually hurt your relationship with the person who asked you to do something? Then consider the consequences on yourself if you say yes. What will it cost you in time, energy, and frustration…in time away from the things you really want to do? Consider these things consciously and then make a decision, instead of just saying yes automatically, because that’s what you always did before.
When you say no to the things you don’t want to do, you might have room in your life to say yes to things you want to do, that are meaningful, helpful, or fun for you.
Cancer survivors…how do you do with saying no when you don’t want to do something?
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Photo Credit: basimmons