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Start By Saying No

Many of us have problems learning to say no. We are people-pleasers, often saying yes to things we don’t really want to say yes to which can be harmful to us. This is why Sara Niven of Psychology Now advises you to stop saying yes to everyone all of the time. “Agreeing to everything may keep others happy, but often at a personal cost,” Niven explains. “Sometimes saying no means saying yes to self-worth.” Saying yes to everyone all of the time can hurt you when you are working on your recovery. Realize, though, that when you say yes to everyone else, you are probably saying no to yourself. Recovery is about putting yourself first. You’ve got to learn to say no to others so you can say yes to yourself. Saying yes to everything may have begun as an innocent attempt to please others and make them happy, explains Dr. Harriet Braiker. Dr. Braiker is the author of a best-selling book, The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome. Dr. Braiker says, “But this seemingly harmless passion to always be ‘nice,’ to put others first and to compulsively please them even at the expense of your own health and happiness rapidly spirals into a serious psychological syndrome with far-reaching physical and emotional consequences.”Extinguishing your own needs is hurtful to your recovery. You may be working on staying sober. You may even be sober for a few months, but this may be compromised if you have a compulsive need to say yes to others. Your friends may invite you out to a bar and be unaware that you are trying to stay sober. If you feel the need to say yes, you might be compromising your recovery. You must learn to say no when it benefits you. Give yourself the respect that you give to others. Niven has other ways to begin to say no when it doesn’t benefit you:

  • Avoid rambling

“Part of the skill of saying no is to shut up afterward and not babble on, offering material for an argument.”

  • Be firm

“Be prepared for some people to be taken aback or try to persuade you, particularly if they are used to you agreeing to everything.”

  • Be positive

“Saying no to something that isn’t a fit for you means being able to say yes to something that is.”

  • Give an alternative

“Suggest something else if there is a compromise that works for you, as long as you don’t end up agreeing to something else that doesn’t.”

  • Give yourself time

“If your default response is to immediately agree, say that you need to check arrangements. Just don’t let this turn into procrastination and guilt.”

  • Start small

“Like any habit, saying yes to everything can be hard to break. Some people will feel easier to say no to than others, just as some things will — start with these and build up.

Villa Tranquil Recovery is here for you during your recovery. Call us now at 866-697-7573 for more information about the recovery programs we offer. We can’t wait to hear from you