Ever said yes to something and as the words come out of your mouth you're thinking 'why am I saying this?'. Saying 'yes' usually comes from a genuine desire to please and the simple act of saying 'no' is not always that easy. As a mother and woman in medicine, life often presents too many choices, too many opportunities, too many responsibilities and too many demands. Due to underestimations of our time or of the specific request, an apparently easy task then becomes too much or just one too many. Suddenly, you become overwhelmed and over committed. What should you do, flake, or honor your promise but suffer the stressful and guilt-ridden consequences? Calling and withdrawing your commitment, and apologizing for letting them down is one option, but the simplest answer is to avoid the situation in the first place.
MomMD member Mary Bois-Byrne shares her wisdom, "First of all, say "no" simply. Saying "No" can help define who you are - what you are not willing to do! Do not justify or make excuses for saying no to people that you do not have to make justifications to (and that's just about everyone)! Just say no simply and firmly. People respect this. You can always say that you have "another commitment" to soften your "no", but don't go into details....(men rarely do). "Another commitment" can be time to take care of yourself, your relationships, your home, your dog, your car, etc.". She continues to say that "others often respond with respect if you are unapologetic about saying no. If anything, you'll appear active, selective and maybe, just maybe, even wise!"
Be honest and direct with both yourself and the person requesting your time. Saying no is your right. Ask yourself 'if I say yes to doing this what won't I be able to do?'. Even if you would really like to do it if one of your goals and priorities suffers it may be best to say no. In this instance, you can honestly say, "that sounds absolutely great and as much as I'd love to, I simply have to say no because...".
Sometimes despite everything you simply have to say yes. But you can still make it easier for yourself by attaching certain conditions like "I can do this next week" or "I can only give you a half-hour of my time". You can tell them that they "owe you one" and call in the favor when you need it, as well as suggesting ways to plan for this better the next time.