XYZ - AND SHOULD WE SAY YES OR NO?

Knowing when to say Yes and when it's okay to say No - it's all to do with boundaries and not allowing others to drain you dry

WHAT DOES XYZ MEAN?

Apparently (according to the Urban Dictionary) XYZ stands for "examine your zipper" ie: check that the fly of your pants is zipped up. Today is the last day of my List of More and I thought I'd go out with a bang and cover the last three letters in one hit - and in the process I'll be checking that all my buttons and zips are done up!

When I was cruising around looking at words that these letters represented, I must admit that I struggled a little - I've covered most of the "Z" references in my AtoZ posts and "X" is always a bit of a compromise. So, I thought I'd stick mainly with "Y" which I'm narrowing down to that little word "Yes" because I've been doing quite a lot of thinking about when to say Yes and when to say No when the occasions arise.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YES AND NO

I've been a bit of a "Yes" person all my life in regard to people pleasing. I hate upsetting people and having unresolved issues lying around the place. Sometimes it's easier to say Yes and just get on with it than it is to stand up for myself and put my foot down when I know it's going to cause annoyance or upset. And, to be honest, I don't think it's a bad thing to say Yes if it's not a big deal to do what's being requested. It's often a really good feeling to help someone out or to go the extra mile - they're happy, we're happy and all's right with the world.

It's often a really good feeling to help someone out or to go the extra mile - they're happy, we're happy and all's right with the world.

On the other hand, there are times when we feel like we're being taken advantage of. We know that we're being asked because we're a soft target. Sometimes we can put ourselves out over and over again for people and we're not really helping them, we're actually enabling them to get away with not stepping up themselves. Draining ourselves dry to save other people isn't always the right answer.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

It's taken me all the way into my 50's before I began truly learning the meaning of boundaries and how they create space for me and allow me to determine how I should be investing my time. Running in to rescue everyone isn't the answer - knowing what is genuine and what is taking advantage of your good nature is the key. Some people will take and take until you have nothing left - saying Yes to them every time is not constructive for them or for you.

Learning how to say 'No' without feeling bad is a skill in itself. It comes down to knowing your own value and how that translates into relationships with others. When you know you have worth and deserve space, you get much better at working out where to invest your time and energy. It's not about being selfish, but rather it's about self-care and not burning yourself out by overcommitting.

IT'S OKAY TO SAY NO

'Yes' might be our natural default and it might seem easier initially to agree, but sometimes we need to take a step back and ask a few questions:

Do I really want to do it? Am I already over scheduled? Do I have the time? 
Does it fit my values? Am I feeling forced to say ‘yes’? 
Does it make me uncomfortable? Is it making me unhappy?

If we're ticking some of these boxes then it might be in our best interests to be brave enough to say 'No' and let them find someone else to take on the task. Sometimes saying No to someone else actually means saying Yes to yourself and your own needs.

It's okay to say no If you don’t want to do it If you’re already over scheduled If you don’t have the time If it doesn’t fit your values If you feel forced to say ‘yes’  If it makes you uncomfortable If it makes you unhappy #quotes

FIND YOUR MIDDLE GROUND

If we say No to every request then we might be leaning towards being a little selfish and mean spirited. It does us all good to help others, to lend a hand, to take on a chore or a task that we're capable of doing and allowing others to handball some of their load. It's finding the balance between over committing and under committing, it's knowing when enough is enough or when you have a little more to give.

Saying 'Yes' can be so rewarding if you have the time, energy and interest to give it a shot. Extending ourselves (there's the "X" for today) and engaging with others, volunteering, helping out, taking on a new commitment - all these are good for us. They expand (another "X") our horizons and keep us growing, but what it ultimately comes down to is knowing where the line in the sand is and not allowing it to be crossed too often.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

So that zips up ("Z" reference) my A to Z of More. You can find the whole alphabet in my original post from the beginning of the year and the latest posts are listed below. I hope you enjoyed the series and this last wind up post - and that you'll learn to let your "yes" be yes and your "no" be no (to quote a bible verse somewhat out of context) when you're put the the test.


RELATED POSTS



Knowing when to say Yes and when it's okay to say No - it's all to do with boundaries and not allowing others to drain you dry
Knowing when to say Yes and when it's okay to say No - it's all to do with boundaries and not allowing others to drain you dry

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26 comments

  1. Lots of good points here. I'm a major people pleaser and tend to overextend myself.Figuring out where to draw that "line in the sand" is an art. As everything in life is, it's all about balance.

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    1. You're so right about balance Lori - we can't live our lives running around after everyone else, but we don't want to flip the coin and be self-centred and selfish either. It's knowing when you have the energy to say "yes" and when you need to take a step back and say "no" for a while.

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  2. The list is really helpful to those of us who aren't sure about when to say no. We want to be liked and we don't want people to be mad at us. You have put things in perspective for me. I think what your saying in a nutshell, is that it's ok to say no if it means sacrificing too much of yourself to say yes.

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    1. You summed it up really well Christina - I think we all like to say Yes when we can, but for a lot of us we agree to things out of obligation (or pre-conditioning) and then we finally start to wake up to the fact that we have worth too and draining ourselves dry to try to please people and prove ourselves isn't always the wisest course of action.

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  3. Hi, Leanne - I love your very balanced approach to saying 'yes' and 'no.' It makes good sense to me. I believe I have gotten better at saying 'no' as I've aged. Still, I always try to find something that I can say yes to, even when declining the original request. For example, I may say, "Unfortunately, I am currently unable to help with xxxxx, but I would love to do yyyyy.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post Donna and I really like your approach. I think we reach and age and stage where feeling "obligated" isn't a good enough reason to say Yes to every request any more. I still feel a dose of the guilts when I say No, but I'm getting better at it as I practice putting better boundaries into place.

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  4. Morning smile, Leanne, re Urban Dictionary. The Yes/No quandary has been an issue for many women (maybe men, too). I finally learned a few phrases that may help with conveying, “No.”. Example: “unfortunately, I will not be able to attend” instead of just plain “no.” Or, I would love to, unfortunately I am away.

    I love your words, saying no to someone else actually means saying yes to yourself. Great list! Thank you for sharing, especially during the holiday season:)

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    1. Hi Erica - I did the "unfortunately I won't be able to attend" conversation with a friend the other day. She was having a party that would have been lovely, but with the travel time and party time all mixed together it was just feeling like too much. So I put on my big girl panties and gracefully declined. I still felt that little voice saying "you should" but underneath it another little voice breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn't putting myself under the extra stress. So I guess I was saying Yes to me for a change x

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  5. I like your approach! I think you have to pick your battles in life. If you don't, you'd be fighting an uphill war with everyone! Sometimes, as you say, you just have to stand your ground and say 'no'!

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    1. Thanks Diane - I just find that we assume that giving in and saying Yes to everything will make everyone (including ourselves) happy. Now I'm finding that it really doesn't make me happy to agree to everything and that I'm allowed to say No without feeling guilty (although a little bit of guilt still lingers!)

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  6. Over extending....yep, that's me at the moment!

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    1. Really?? I think you do more than three people rolled into one, so I can't say I'm overly surprised :D

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  7. I think it's important to know our own limits, it's just a shame it can take us so long to find where we stand. Setting boundaries is also vital but we seem to get to a point when we know enough is enough, or maybe that's just me! I'm a massive people pleaser and really need help with this one, I overthink things sooo much. #lifethisweek

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    1. It took me 50+ years to even begin to understand the concept of boundaries Deb - before it was always about making other people happy no matter the cost to my own self-care. Now I'm finally getting the hang of the idea that I'm allowed to say No occasionally - now I just have to figure out how to not feel guilty about it when I do!

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  8. The older I get, the better I am at saying no! I know that saying no means I can say yes to the things that matter most.

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    1. That's because you're a lot smarter than me Sam - I really need to get my self-worth level up another notch or two before I truly master this one....

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  9. I can remember my boys telling each other "XYZ" sometimes even just to make the other boy look; his zipper really wasn't undone. Boys!

    I have been a "yes" person all my life. It has gotten me into trouble sometimes, but I have also had some amazing experiences. I am trying to have the confidence to say "yes", but the wisdom to know when to say "no". Wonderful post!

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    1. I think I'd like to be able to say Yes to more adventurous things and No to doing things under obligation (because I'm too weak to say No). I feel like I'm getting there in small stages though. And I laughed that your boys know what XYZ means!

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  10. Hi Leanne,

    "Sometimes it's easier to say Yes and just get on with it than it is to stand up for myself and put my foot down when I know it's going to cause annoyance or upset."

    I can so well relate to this thought. Because I too have done this many times. And like you rightly said, I have wondered if I was being seen as a soft target.

    Now I have learnt there is nothing wrong in saying No, if we truly aren't able to say Yes. Now, I think for a while, before saying Yes or No.

    I went through the list of all More posts. Nice ones, I have missed some of them. I will read them.

    By the way, I didn't know what "XYZ" meant. Thanks, I learnt something new.

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    1. Hi Pradeep - I think we're on a similar journey - where we don't want to say No to everything, but also finding that we can have boundaries and expect others to respect them. It's a whole new world for me and I'm coming to a point where I really enjoy having the choice - rather than just going with the flow.

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  11. It took me a lot longer than you to know my limits and my boundaries. I am still L for learning but better than I ever used to be. People pleasing only ever caused me issues of resentment and more. That built up for many years. It is freeing to be able to put me (and my needs) first...such a weird but great thing to be doing over time.
    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week's optional prompt is 48/51 Self-Care Stories #7. 2/12/19. I hope to see you there too. Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse - I'm still L for learning too, but as I come to terms with the fact that I'm allowed to have an opinion and do what works for me, it becomes quite liberating. I'm hoping that with a few more years of practice I might also get past the guilty feeling!

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  12. Oh that XYZ meaning is hilarious Leanne! I'd never heard that before. Love it! As for being a yes person - yes that was me too. Not anymore. Saying yes to things you don't want to do not only drains the life out of us but also means we're not giving our best selves anyway. I save my yes's for things that matter and that I want to do for whatever reason. Love how you slipped those X's and Z references in at the end there! ;-) #TeamLovinLife

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  13. I'm a huge people-pleaser and struggle with guilt, so saying no is hard for me. I'm more likely to lie than to tell the truth and say I don't want to do something. Even with people who know me well enough to understand.

    And I worry too much about people's feelings so often do stuff I don't want to do to make up for others, which I realise is ridiculous.

    Also... had NO idea XYZ was a thing!

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  14. It's like you can read my mind and know exactly what I need to read on any particular day. Whoa.
    Dropped by today from #BloggersPitStop but you know I'm always happy to be here. :)
    Hope this weekend treats you kindly. :)

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  15. We will feature this one Leanne. I think a lot is about our attitude and how we say Yes or No. Then when someone says No to us can we gracefully accept it as well?
    Kathleen

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Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.
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