Have you ever made a decision, then once you learned more you realized it just wasn’t the right choice for you? What did you do? Did you change your mind? Did you suck it up and forge ahead? I recently had this experience and I did something completely opposite of what I would have done ten months ago (heck, three months ago) — I changed my mind. I said “This is not for me” and it couldn’t have been more empowering!
What makes us say “yes” and then suffer when we realize our decision is not in our best interest, or for that fact, not in the best interest of the other people involved? Why is it we feel that once we say “yes”, it is set in stone and has to be done or else? Recently I wrote an article about letting go but this is more than letting go. This is about being empowered to choose what is best for you even if it is not what someone else thinks is best for them. It is about what is important to you, your goals, and your life. It is about changing your mind for good reason and then standing in that choice. It is about saying “no” even after saying “yes”. Why is this important?
When we make a commitment and then want to change our mind but don’t, we do everyone involved a disservice. We sometimes end up resenting the task, the person involved and even ourselves. I know there were many times I found myself angry with the person who asked me and they didn’t even know it! I held it in and pretended that everything was hunky-dory when it wasn’t. Was it their fault, heck no! They thought everything was okay because they asked me and I replied “yes”.
Saying “no” really is about staying true to yourself and respecting your life, your wants, and your choices. Sure there are times when you want to help someone but you just can’t because of other things on your plate — those are easier to decline.
Tips for saying NO in the first place so you don’t find yourself in a predicament:
- Don’t answer right away. Give yourself time to think about it to see if it is something you want to do. Often 24 hours is a good amount of time to wait to respond; you will know by then if you truly want to say “yes”. If you are having a hard time deciding, it’s a good sign that your answer is “no”.
- Gather as much information upfront as you can (if possible). Make sure that you ask questions and get all of the information you need in order to make a good decision for yourself.
- Remember what is important to you. If what you are being asked to do moves you closer to your values and to what you want in your life, by all means, do it. If it moves you further away from your goals, it’s important to decline. This will keep you empowered and on track with how you want to live your life.
However, there are times when you really don’t want to help and commit anyway. Maybe it’s something that don’t you want to follow through with because the repercussions are too high. Or like in my case, I thought the commitment was for one thing and it turned out to be something much different. Had I known, I would have said “no” from the get-go because I simply didn’t have the time.
Remember it’s okay to change your mind. Here are a few tips to changing your mind as well as communicating your change of heart:
- Let go of feeling guilty. If you are a caring, compassionate person, it’s only natural that you may feel bad about this decision. However, feeling guilty only serves to pressure you and keep you from saying “no”. It holds you back.
- Come from a place of honesty. Be truthful about why you are changing your mind. Say “I thought this was something I wanted to do, but I came to realize it isn’t.” When you are direct, you feel better and so does the other person.
- Respect yourself and them. By respecting yourself, your choices and your decisions first, it is easy for you to respect the other person. You can easily speak from the heart and there is much value in that.
So remember, whether you changed your mind or flat out said “no”, the decision is always your decision – for you to be happy, it can be no other way.