Stop saying yes to things you hate

I’ve noticed a few themes over the years of working as a therapist for young women.

One of these themes is this pattern of women saying yes to things they hate.

Things they aren’t actually interested in, or passionate about.

Things that overcrowd their calendars.

The yes comes over and over and it’s no surprise what happens next.

Burnout. Exhaustion. Confusion. Resentment. Bitterness, even.

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Why do we say yes to things we hate?

Why do we commit to events, volunteer gigs, or social events that we have ZERO interest in?

WHY do we find ourselves on the verge of burnout with overcrowded calendars?

Why we keep saying yes

  • A sense of obligation or duty. This is really about believing you don’t have a choice. This is a disempowering mindset that allows other people to make decisions about YOUR life. You do not need to agree to something just because someone you respect believes you should do it. This includes your boss, your parent, and your partner. You have more control than you think.

  • A tendency to be a people-pleaser. As a people-pleaser, you put everyone else’s needs and desires in front of your own. You agree to statements, ideas, and behaviors that don’t actually reflect your values or desires. You say YES to events or activities out of fear- fear of upsetting someone else. You would rather say YES (and be unhappy) than risk your friend feeling angry or offended.

  • A difficulty with boundaries. A boundary is simply a line in the sand, separating what is okay and what is not okay. Ultimately, you get to decide what you allow. Here’s how this shows up in real life: a friend of yours consistently texts you late at night, when you’re getting ready for bed. This disrupts your wind-down routine, but you always respond because you don’t want to leave her hanging. She’s learned to expect a prompt response from you regardless of the time. You end up feeling irritated and put-out by your friend, and she has no idea. This happens due to a lack of boundaries- as humans, we cannot be expected to meet expectations if we aren’t clear what those expectations are.

The end of the year is a great opportunity to focus on what you are allowing into your life. Have you been saying yes to things that are no longer serving you? How has your mental health been impacted by saying yes to things you hate?

Saying no can be difficult, especially when it’s not your typical response. The good news is you can train yourself to think and respond differently. For example, try these different ways of responding to requests or invitations that don’t work for you:

  • No, thanks for asking.

  • Sorry, not this time.

  • That doesn’t work for me.

  • That’s not a priority right now.

  • I’m focusing on other things.

  • Maybe another time.

  • I can’t make it.

  • No. [this is a complete sentence!]

Do you have trouble saying no? Do you keep saying yes to things you hate? Counseling can help you process why this happens and give you practical skills for learning to set boundaries and take charge of your life. Schedule an appointment to get started today. Counseling appointments available in New Brighton and Roseville.