If you struggle saying 'no' to things, or feel like you're settling, read this.
“Something is better than nothing.”
I’ve recently realised that this belief was the driving factor behind my last relationship (the one I wrote about ending a couple of weeks ago, in this blog). Even in the early days of us dating, I knew the guy wasn’t right for me and he wasn’t someone I saw a long-term future with. But I went ahead with it anyway and we were together for nearly 18 months. Why?
Because ‘something is better than nothing’… or so I believed.
I was settling for something unfulfilling and average, just because it seemed better than not having anything at all.
But was it, really? In the end, the 'settling for something average' made me feel worse, not better. I was constantly doubting myself and going round in circles in my thinking. I just wanted to escape and run away from it all, thinking that would magically solve my problem somehow (newsflash: it doesn’t).
And it reminded me of many clients who often complain that they struggle to say NO to things. Then they end up taking too much on, doing things they don’t really want to be doing, and not getting to where they want to be in life. “How can I get better at saying no to things?!’ – they ask?!
So I offer them this reframe:
When you say yes to something, YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY saying NO, just to something else.
Say yes to that extra work (+ automatically say no to spare time with your family)
Say yes to that pizza (+ automatically say no to achieving your weight loss goals)
Say yes to that nightmare new client (+ automatically say no to job satisfaction)
Say yes to that crappy job (+ automatically say no to your contentment)
By saying yes to an average relationship, I was saying no to my own contentment. I was saying no to opportunities to meet someone who I DID really want to be with. I was saying no to loving ALL aspects of my life.
And when I look at it like that, suddenly I see that ‘something average’ is NOT better than nothing. Holding on to something I didn’t really want, just for the sake of having it, is not empowering – it’s disempowering.
The truth is that no-one has a struggle with saying no – we are all saying no whenever we say yes. We just don’t often think about what we are saying no to.
So here’s for you to consider:
- Where in your life are you settling for mediocre?
- What are you actually saying NO to, when you’re saying yes to things you don’t want to be saying yes to?
- What would be possible for you if you let go of something average and made space for something better...?