Stop saying yes when you want to say no

We’ve all been there…that moment when you’re asked to do something you don’t want to do or even have the time to do….you want to say no….but before you know it, the word ‘yes’ has already come out your mouth.

Don’t worry, you really aren’t alone in that. We’ve been thinking about why we find it so important to please everyone, to the point where we feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Pleasing others can be self-serving. But I wonder if the benefits to saying yes are outweighed by the negative impact on our mental health.

By agreeing to do things that you don’t want to could mean that you are a people pleaser, which is not a bad trait, but can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. People pleasers think about other people’s needs, worry about what other people want or think before they think about their own needs, or what they want. 

Learning to say “no” is is about setting boundaries. Every time you say “yes” to someone, you say “no” to yourself and your priorities and needs. It is far worse to say “yes” then to feel your anxiety building up. Forget about pleasing people. It is more important to please yourself so that you can stay calm and relaxed.

Practice saying “no”. Say it aloud so you can hear the words in your own voice. Say phrases with “no” in them, such as, “No, I can’t do that.”

Never say yes on the spot. Instead say “I’ll get back to you” after you’ve checked if you actually can do it. Or how about “Let me think about it and ill speak to you tomorrow”.

You do not need to say “yes” just because you are capable of doing something. You should say “yes” only if you considered your time availability, other commitments and what you may need to give up to complete the job.

Put your self-care above anything else by spending your time on things that make you happy and on decisions that you want, rather than on what others want. If you don’t set boundaries to what or whom you will say no to, your health is at stake. If you neglect yourself, you will not be able to help your family or those that care about you.

You don’t even need to apologies for saying no.

Remember that your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for other people.

I would like to introduce James Park to you…

He is writing a book which look at the factors causing young people to self harm, the unhelpful ways in which services sometimes respond to their distress, and the routes people find back to feeling on top of things. 

He has written books before, ran for 20 years an organisation that helped schools promote young people’s mental health and emotional well-being, and is a qualified (but currently non-practising) psychotherapist.

He is happy to talk by phone, over skype, face-to-face… or in any other way that works for you. He will treat whatever you tell him as confidential and, if he does use elements of your story in the book, will ensure you cannot be identified.

You can get in touch with James by email (jamesrobertpark@icloud.com), by phone (0771 201 3172) or via Adrienne Grove at Harmless on 01158348445 or email adrienne@harmless.org.uk 

Please take a little time to read his email below and help him to get the correct messages across. If you have any questions please give me or James a call. This is our chance to be heard..

Adults not listening: will you tell me your story?

Ask a young person who sometimes self-harms, or thinks of killing themselves, what it is they most crave from the adults around them, and the chances are they’ll say it’s the opportunity to be really listened to. They may add that really listening is something their parents, teachers and others seem to find it really, really hard to do.

All too often, what adults call listening is actually telling: getting in first with a response to what they think a young person is wanting to say: trying to reassure them that they are loved, have the potential to do well in school, will get better in time. They challenge rather than absorb, try to map a shortcut to health rather than being attentive to the thoughts struggling to be expressed.

The effect on the young person is all too often to plunge them back into the despair they thought they were starting to claw their way out of. Asking to be listened to can be an act of considerable courage. It’s about starting to create a small space in which you can feel in control of your own life, evolving a language to express the strange feelings that toss you around: listening to your true self instead of the angry, reproachful voices in your head. Being talked back to just confirms what you feared all along: that you are powerless and undeserving.

In looking for an explanation of why so many young people today are experiencing such high levels of emotional distress, I suspect the answer is to be found in the fact that adults are finding it harder to listen. There are too many anxieties knocking around in their heads: particularly about whether there’s going to be work available for their child, a decent income to be earned: all of which is seen to be dependent on whether a child will get those grades they are going to need. And that’s before a child has started cutting themselves or opening top-floor windows with the thought that they might jump into oblivion.

Another way adults deal with their anxieties is handing the responsibility for listening to their child on to someone else. But while a therapist or counsellor may provide welcome respite, may foster the courage to go back and ask again… and again … for the right to be heard, they cannot replace having a parent who listens quietly … over many hours and days … to what it is their child is trying to make sense of.

And when an adult thinks they have been listening, and has done the caring thing by finding a professional to help, the next time they hear the child telling them they have not been heard, they may inadvertently, in a few unfortunate seconds, express exasperation or frustration, sparking a further downward spiral as the young person turns away, towards some other strategy for managing their despair.

I am writing a book about how we, as a society, can break these cycles of failed communication. To do that I want to hear your stories: whether of asking to be listened to from people who could not respond, or of finding a listener who helped you to health; of trying to listen but failing, or of finding a way to do so. Please get in touch via email (jamesrobertpark@icloud.com) or phone (0771 201 3172). I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

James

Harmless Self Harm Drop-in Service Tomorrow

Harmless provide two drop-in sessions per month, one for adults and a separate one for young people.

Our next drop-in service is for adults. If you are 18 or over, and would like support for yourself, a friend or family member then feel free to come along.

Our next session for adults is Thursday 20th August at 11 am until 12 noon.

Our trained therapist will be on hand to offer information or advice about any concerns you may have about self harm.

If you have any concerns about someone such as a family member, friend or a colleague, then please feel free to join us, you will be assured of a friendly welcome.

All Drop in sessions will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service Building, 7 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB (Opposite House of Fraser)

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 934 8445 or email us at info@harmless.org.uk

Harmless Self Harm Drop-in Service Today

Harmless are pleased to announce an increase in our Drop in sessions. From April 2015 we will be offering two drop in sessions per month.

If you are 18 or over, and would like support for yourself, a friend or family member then feel free to come along.

Our next session for adults is: Wednesday 15th April at 15.30 until 16.30.

Our trained therapist will be on hand to offer information or advice about any concerns you may have about self harm.

If you have any concerns about someone such as a family member, friend or a colleague, then please feel free to join us, you will be assured of a friendly welcome.

All drop in sessions will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service Building, & Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB (Opposite House of Fraser)

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 934 8445 (Admin line only) or email us at info@harmless.org.uk