Do you find it hard to say no? Especially when it’s a loved one, co-worker, or school mate who’s asking, but you really don’t have the time to help out in that moment?  We’ve all been between a rock and a hard place, between wanting to do what’s polite and what’s really best for us. The issue gets stickier and trickier when the people reaching out have helped you through a tough time, like getting sober. In this case, you may feel obligated to give back, even if you’re not in a space yet to do so. If you’re having trouble declining when you really should, it may help to remember the reasons why saying no can be the best gift you can give yourself.

“No.” is a Complete Sentence

Saying no to something that is not in your best interest, or makes you feel uncomfortable, is an investment in your own well-being. In your circle of friends and family, the ones you have your back and love you will understand when your motivation for saying no is protecting all of the gains you’ve made. However, knowing it’s ok to say no, and actually doing it are two different things, so don’t complicate the task at hand!

If you feel more comfortable communicating electronically, use that route. If a phone call works for you, go for it. Depending on how sensitive a situation you feel it is, maybe meeting face to face would be best. Sometimes hearing the word no is as hard as saying the word no. Sincerity, a gentle voice, and polite words will go a long way toward letting someone down easy. However and wherever you communicate, don’t waffle. Be strong in your conviction and the choice you’ve made.

Build Boundaries

If you start to feel that the other person is pressuring or guilting you, it’s ok to kindly wrap up the conversation. Having limits and boundaries about what is okay for you is the foundation of being about to say no with conviction. If you’re able to interact with the people in your life with an awareness of what you’re capable of giving and engaging in, you are less vulnerable to pressure from outside sources. 

Sometimes, even with awareness of your own abilities and willingness boundaries can be difficult, especially with those closest to us. In recovery, there may be feelings of shame or guilt in regards to our past interactions with family members, friends, or partners that make saying no more difficult. While you desire to make right the past, the best way to build a healthy future with those closest to you is to grow in your actions and allow them space to grow along with you. Boundaries can be made with grace and from a place of love.

Ultimately it is up to you to not only practice awareness of where and when you need to say no and to communicate that with conviction and kindness. Learning to take action that puts you first is difficult but worth it, and can help you grow in your recovery journey.

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you throughout your recovery journey. We can help you be a healthier version of yourself. Call us today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to speak with you and help you today!