Dr. Judith Orloff said the word No is a complete sentence. Do you feel you have to explain or justify a No response? If you do this, it's a habit you can shift, even if it takes time to get comfortable doing it naturally.
A description from the "Medicine Cards" book and card set by Sams and Carson states you have the right to say, "That's not appropriate for me at this time." It also states there is no obligation to say more than that. If your tendency is to explain your best-interest choices, take a moment to feel how liberating this permission is.
Controlling types can be especially difficult people to say no to, but you can do this without a verbal battle, you just have to hold fast to your rights and boundaries, even if/when they choose to make personal criticisms. (Orloff advises not to take a controller’s personal comments personally.) Remember that any and every out-of-balance energy is caused by fear, usually a fear of losing something. This fear applies to any controller type in your life—and you.
Sometimes explaining a No response is justified. Other times it’s just plain tiresome, usually because there’s an energy attached of not feeling our right to our choice is being honored by the recipient. Then there are times we utter explanations because we feel we have to justify our choice to ourselves. We don’t, especially if we’re aligned with our choice. And, some people are Processors, which means they verbalize the thought-string of details and considerations going on in their minds (a habit worthy of considering release of).
Putting into practice your right to say “No” or “That’s not appropriate for me,” with no further explanation, assists you to boost self-esteem and self-confidence. Self-confidence comes from trusting that you can and do make best choices for yourself—and knowing your opinion about your choices is the only one that ultimately matters.
This practice will also help you reduce or stop "shoulding" on yourself, especially if you’ve been programmed with perfectionist tendencies (a fear-based behavior). As you reduce “shoulding” on yourself, you will also, eventually, reduce how often you "should" on others. If you do one, you definitely do the other. When you recognize that someone is “shoulding” on you, you’ll more easily address this in a way appropriate for you. No one appreciates being "should" on. Imagine it was required we first ask, “May I ‘should’ on you about this?” How many of us would answer Yes, and mean it?
The more comfortable we are in our own "skin"—flaws and all (and willingness to self-adjust as we go), the more comfortable we are about allowing others the same experience. We let go of needing them to be different than they are AND believing we need to be different than what is natural for us. This allows for a far more relaxed, harmonious (or collaborative) experience with our selves and others to happen. And, you have the right to not stay in (or, at least, choose to limit) relationships with anyone you feel too strong of an emotional-chemistry contrast. Often, such a contrast happens with an immediate family member, and it’s easy to lose sight of your boundaries (and theirs) for a period of time. When this happens, trust that you’ll get back on track, and don’t judge yourself when you slip. Know that you can use such times to expand awareness and personal power, no matter how challenging the experience feels while it’s happening. At such a time, it’s best not to “should” on yourself and best to “would” on yourself: How would I prefer to manage myself now?
Frustration happens when you say Yes, when you know No is right for you; or when you feel Yes, but know you need to modify what your Yes means—and you don’t do this. You may feel uncomfortable—even fearful—of saying No; but you "fragment" your psyche and spirit, and deplete your energy, every time you say Yes and your inner essence says or shouts, "No!"
If necessary, take baby-steps: Pick one small matter this applies to and practice. Pay attention to how you feel before, during, and after. Know that the more you do this, the more natural it feels. In fact, not doing it eventually becomes downright uncomfortable.
You are what you practice.
© 2010, Joyce Shafer