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I learned to say NO without feeling guilty

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I often think to myself, “How did I get here and what did I do to attract the desires of my heart?” It’s kind of sobering and wonderful to see the contrast of who I was and who I am today. I was full of fear and focused on others, often at the expense of myself. Some of the things I did to contribute to my well-being was to pray, meditate, show up, forgive, trust, love and accept myself, and have faith in God’s plan for my life.  Today, I am living my dream and celebrating who I am and who I am becoming.

In this blog, I will be sharing some of the things I have learned on my journey so far. I believe that everything that has happened in my life has led me to this moment in time and I feel so grateful and blessed. My soul knew the experiences I needed to attract into my life to grow and expand. I may not have thought that when I was going through stressful times, but I know that to be true.

One of the tools I use today that helps me process when something happens that upsets or distresses me is to ask myself some questions.

*What if this experience is exactly what I need to help me grow?

*What if this is my greatest learning and will move me forward?

*What if this experience is a gift and will heal me?

When I ask myself these questions, it kind of takes the punch out of whatever I’m going through and I see it from a higher perspective. I am then able to process my feelings and do what I need to do or not do.

As I looked back over my blogs today, I saw a similar theme running through them and that was the importance of loving and accepting ourselves. When I love, accept, appreciate and respect myself, others will do the same. It has to start with me. I cannot expect others to love, accept and respect me, if I am not doing it for myself.

It is my belief that I teach people how to treat me. If I really embrace this, I can no longer blame others for treating me poorly, abusing me, ignoring me or treating me disrespectfully because I taught them to treat me like this. I didn’t know any better and most of the time I didn’t even know that it was abusive or disrespectful.

How are you being treated in your relationships today? Do you feel loved, accepted, heard and respected? If not, remember it is not the other person’s fault because you have taught them to treat you like this.

As you love, accept and respect yourself, you will teach others how you want to be treated. I know this from personal experience and a lot of practice. I no longer tolerate unacceptable behavior. I have learned to communicate, ask for what I want, speak up, receive, set boundaries and SAY NO – without feeling guilty.

As the holidays approach you may need to practice saying no for your own well-being. When I say no to someone else, I am saying yes to myself. Learning to say no to others and yes to myself has transformed my life and I am living a life like no other.

It is not selfish to say no, but self-caring to say no when you need to. If I’m not sure I want to do something, I always give myself time to go within and see what I want to do. I will say, “Can I get back to you on that in a couple of days?” I do nothing out of the SHOULDS anymore. It takes practice to say no in a way that doesn’t offend someone. I also know that I have the right to change my mind, even at the last minute. Remember no is a complete sentence.  But if you need a few suggestions on how to say no, here are some you might try:

  • Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you
  • Thank you for asking, but that isn’t going to work for me
  • I want to do that, but I’m not available until next week. Will you ask me again then
  • I can’t do it, but I know someone who may be able to help you
  • None of those dates work for me, but I would love to see you. Send me some more dates
  • I can’t put anything else on my calendar this month, but I’d love to do that sometime
  • Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that. Say it, then shut up
  • I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed
  • I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now
  • I promised my husband I wouldn’t take on any more projects right now
  • I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day
  • Let me tell you what I can do, then limit the commitment to what is comfortable for you

We are responsible for our lives, our happiness and peace. This is not a dress rehearsal, it’s the real thing. I encourage you to love, accept and appreciate yourself and to live your life like there is no tomorrow. Because the truth is, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, all we have is TODAY. So let’s make a decision to make it the best we can. You are worth it!


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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

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