October 25, 2022

ADHD and Relationships Part 5: How to Say NO

Saying no can be very difficult for any human, but I believe it’s especially hard for adults with ADHD. In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Why saying no is hard for us
  • What executive functions are involved in saying no
  • Practical tips on exactly HOW to say no

ADHDer, the more you say no when you want to, the more you are in the driver’s seat of your own life. Enjoy!



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Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain. Unlock your potential and move from point A to point B.

Hey, what’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to the I have ADHD podcast episode number 182. I am medicated, I am caffeinated. I just had Oreos and milk and I am ready to roll.

How are you? How are you? I’m so glad that you’re here with me today and that you decided to press play on this glorious podcast. I hope that you’re loving the series on relationships, I keep extending it because I keep coming up with things that I think that are really, really important. And that is displayed in this episode. Because I didn’t Originally I planned to have this included in our relationship series. But I think that for ADHD or saying no is a big, big struggle in our relationships. And so I wanted to include it. We’re going to talk about when to say no how to say no, why it’s so hard for us ADHD ears to say no. And then next week, I have an awesome interview with Dr. Russell Ramsay on how to build self trust. And that is going to be the closer of our series on relationships. So that’s six episodes, and better relationships for adults with ADHD. And I really do hope and pray that it has been so helpful to you because I know so many ADHD errs out there are struggling in their relationships. And hey, if it has been helpful to you, or if this podcast in general has been helpful to you, would you take just a minute of your time and rate and or review it for me, it would mean so much to me. And not only that, it really does make a big difference in the podcast it algorithms and it really helps other adults with ADHD be able to find this podcast, especially if you’re listening on Apple podcast on Spotify, which you just go ahead and take a minute to do it, I would so appreciate it. You can do it right now, while you’re listening to this in real time. And for those of you who aren’t sure how to make it happen, just find the homescreen of the podcast show. And on Spotify, the rating button is at the top. And on Apple podcasts you have to scroll down a little bit like it’s below the first, maybe 10 episodes, you’ll just click that five star button and I’m going to tell you exactly what happens when you do press that rating button. Three incredible things happen.

First, an angel gets its wings.

Second, I get a huge hit of dopamine every time that number goes up.

And third, more adults with ADHD are able to find this podcast. So really, it’s a triple whammy. You’re doing the world a huge service.

Now I want to read you a beautiful review. I haven’t done this in for ever. But I was just kind of scrolling through reviews today. And I thought this one was so poignant. And it really displays why you may want to take a moment to rate or review this podcast. So odd body Black says I found the name of this highly rated podcast months ago but I didn’t have the courage to listen to it. I was afraid that it wouldn’t help that it wouldn’t resonate, and that I would end up feeling more lost more isolated and more alone. I just couldn’t face losing any tiny bit of hope or motivation. But holy crap, I wasn’t halfway through the second episode before I had tears of relief and an incredibly warm sense of being seen. And that feeling has persisted through so many episodes that I had to write a review to keep this podcast floating at the top of the ocean of stuff that’s out there so that other little lonely life rafts out there in the chaos will see it and find out that they aren’t alone. Wow.

First of all I buddy black thank you so much for that beautiful, beautiful review. And I just want to say like that is a big reason why reviews matter is so that other people will find the podcast and know they aren’t alone. So thank you so much for considering I know it’s asking a lot I know it is I know it’s asking a lot but if you have just a second of executive function that you are willing to spend on giving this pod or rating I would so appreciate it. Okay, friend, this is part five of what I now know is a six part series on ADHD and relationships. And one of the big things that we struggle with in relationships as ADHD ears is saying no, and there are a million reasons for this, including our executive functioning, and our desire to make up for having annoying ADHD symptoms. And I thought this conversation today would be a perfect follow up to my episode with Nedra twap.

Last week on boundaries, because every time you say no, you’re expressing a limit, which is a boundary. Now this is a class that I taught in my ADHD coaching program focused a few weeks ago, we discuss why saying no is particularly hard for ADHD years, and how to go about doing it gracefully. I hope it is so helpful to you enjoy. We’re going to talk about ADHD and saying no, because I think for most humans, saying no as hard, I think for ADHD or as we can make it nearly impossible for ourselves to say no. So why, why? Why is it so freaking hard to say? No. The first thing that I want to remind you of is as somebody with ADHD, you have lower levels of dopamine in your brain or to be more specific, fewer dopamine receptors, which means lower amounts of dopamine. That means that if it feels good in the moment to say, yes, you’re going to be extremely tempted to say yes, because your brain craves feeling good, because you have so much less dopamine than a typical brain.

Did y’all hear me? Like, a lot of the time feeling good? In the moment is going to trump say saying, No. So when we go to answer a question, and somebody’s like, Hey, can you help me with this? It feels really good to say yes. Why does it feel good to say yes, because then we get to be a hero. We get to be a helper, we get to be in good standing with someone else. We get to be seen as someone who is great, and it just feels good. Okay. There’s nothing wrong with this. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just something that you really need to, to know about yourself. That one of the reasons why you say yes, is because it feels real good to say yes. And it feels pretty uncomfortable sometimes to say no. And with your brain’s lack of dopamine, we want to mitigate all of the nose, all of the discomfort we want to like, try to get out of it as much as possible. Okay. So saying yes, feels good in the moment, usually, usually saying yes, feels good in the moment. We like to feel good, okay.

Also saying yes, is usually easier. In the moment, we’d like to do the easy thing, not because we’re bad people, not because we’re lazy. But because, again, we have lower amounts of dopamine. So it feels good. And it’s just easier. There’s less conflict. In that moment, what we’re doing is we’re delaying the conflict. We’re delaying the discomfort. But because our ADHD brains are so focused on the here, and now we can’t really see past the end of our nose, most of the time. Delaying the discomfort is not a big deal. We’re like, Fine, I’ll take care of it later, it’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. Instead of just dealing with the discomfort in the moment, okay. We are super impulsive. to varying degrees, I understand that. But as ADHD errs, we are impulsive. And so if it feels good, if it seems easy, we have an impulse to just do it.

Okay, so part of the way that our ADHD shows up for us is we say yes to things that we don’t actually want to say yes. Do we say yes to things or we agree to things that we don’t actually want to agree to? We don’t actually want to follow through. Okay, so we are impulsive. And that’s one of the ways that our ADHD shows up in saying yes, to often. Sometimes, decisions require so much thought and executive function that we just don’t want to take the time to think things through. It’s just like decisions. And we’ve talked about decisions a lot and focused like decisions take a lot of work. They take a lot of brain power. And so making the decision and going back and forth and really weighing our options like that can take a lot of effort and mental fatigue. And so, again, we go with what is easier, which is just like sure, I’ll just do it.

To find another thing is because we struggled to visualize the future, we struggle to have a vision for what we actually want. And so we fill up on time and say yes to things, just because we don’t have a clear picture of what we want it to look like. So for example, let’s say that somebody asks you like, Hey, do you want to do this thing on Friday? Can you manage the bake sale on Friday, if you don’t already have a vision for your Friday? And you are, you don’t already have a picture of what you want it to look like or what you want it to be? It’s very, it’s like, well, I don’t have anything else to do. So sure. Because we just haven’t created that picture that vision of what we want, which is one of the reasons why. In this program, we work a lot with like creating a picture of what you want your life, your day, your hour to look like. So I really want to encourage you, if you notice that you’re filling up your time with like a lot of kind of stupid stuff that you don’t want to be doing. It may be because you don’t actually have a vision for how you truly want to be spending your time.

Okay, so those are some of the ADHD related reasons why we say yes, when we actually want to say no, here are some relational kind of dysfunctional people pleasing reasons why, first, this, this one is not dysfunctional at all. We really liked the person, and we really want to help. Like, truly we just love this person, or we respect this person. And we just we want to help so we say yes, so it’s not, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But some times we want the person to like us. And so we say yes, in an effort to manipulate them into liking us. Because we’re afraid if we say no, then they won’t like us. Can your arm really make sure that you heard me on that one? Sometimes? We are saying yes. Because we want to manipulate someone. Now it’s probably not conscious, we’re probably not thinking I want to manipulate. But if we’re saying yes, when we want to say no, in an effort to be in good standing with someone, to not make them upset or explode to make sure that they like us, that’s just straight up manipulation. Sometimes we say yes, to make other people happy. And we really like to make other people happy, because it feels really good. And so we prioritize their happiness, and our comfort in the moment, rather than prioritizing our own time, our own desires, our own needs.

So this kind of is an overlap. Because as you know, somebody with ADHD, you struggle to prioritize this is one of your executive functions that’s impaired. And so when you struggle to prioritize, you will often be choosing things that are not actual values based priorities to you. So we struggled to prioritize we struggle with impulsivity, we struggle with lower amounts of dopamine, these are all evidence based ADHD struggles, we know this about ourselves, right? And so all of that goes into wow, I truly struggled to say no. Now we also struggle in our relationships. So there’s the ADHD component, but then there’s the relational component. We struggle to feel safe in relationships, we struggle to have true attachments and connections. We struggle often with feeling like we’re on the lower end of the relational clout. Meaning like we owe the other person something I have to make up for my ADHD I have to make up for what an annoying person I am I have to make up for XYZ. And so sometimes we use our yes as manipulation tools to get people to like us to be in better standing with people to be on the receiving end of praise, rather than criticism. I mean, I do this too.

This is just part of the human experience, but I think it is magnified when we have ADHD. Okay, so often we are trying to make up for our ADHD deficiencies or annoying behaviors. And so we say yes to things to make up for it Stop it. Stop. Okay, it was just one of the things that we need to really understand is that we’re not really making up for it, we’re just adding to our own debt. And the more we say yes to the more we have to manage the more overwhelm happens, the more that we’re not working in our zone of genius, or the things that we’re really meant and called to. And then we’re putting things off and we’re procrastinating because we don’t want like, We never wanted to say yes, in the first place, and then we end up not doing it or under delivering or being late or whatever. It’s just like, we’re just adding to our own deficit, or our own debt. Yeah, yeah. Petty says to hear it, like, this is kind of sad that we even feel like we have to say yes to things. Yeah. Totally. Yeah. Ricky says, I’ve done this every job, right. So like, you know, that maybe you’re not as efficient as your other colleagues. So you in order to make up for that you say yes, and take on more. But then you’re a little bit less efficient. So you can’t really get it all done.

So then you just kind of end up being like the cog in the wheel that like backs everything up, cog in the wheel. I’m not sure if that was even the right thing. know if that is, and then we end up resenting the thing we said we were going to do and the person we said yes to exactly. We work on the weekend and get burnout, Haley 100%. Yep, yep. Yep. I want to say that this madness can end. Well, you do not have to continue to live in reactive mode, feeling like you are at the mercy of everyone else’s desires, feeling like you have to say yes to everything, feeling like you have no choice. Or like, you have no time for yourself, or you just resent everyone and everything, and you’re not even doing anything that you want to do. Okay, this madness can end. Just like Breathe with me, the man this content. What’s important to understand is this is a multi faceted technique. It’s not just like, Well, no, I’m just gonna, like learn how to say no, in three easy steps, and my life will be changed forever. It’s not like that.

There are so many facets that we have to work on in order to be calm someone who is an essentialist. Who knows who they are, who knows what they can say yes to and say no to, and who knows how to calm themselves. When they’re feeling so guilty for saying no, who knows how to interact with someone who’s shaming them for saying no. So it’s it’s multifaceted. So just like, I really encourage you to like, understand that. It can change in an instant, with a no additional additionally, it’s going to be a process that happens over time. The more work you do here and focus, the more that you get coaching, the more that you work on your mindset and calming your body down and knowing what you want and what you don’t want and working on your vision and your values and all of that. It’s all going to kind of intertwine into like, I know who I am. I know what I want. I know what I’m going to say yes. And what I’m not going to say yes to, but I’m going to say yes or no to the calming oneself after saying now that’s going to be a big one.

Now. I would also like to reference the public podcast episode that I just released on safe people versus Unsafe people. Safe people except, no. They might not like it. They might be inconvenienced by it and let you know, like wow, this is really inconvenient for me. They might not appreciate the fact that you’re saying no, but they accept no. See people accept. You’re now some of you need new people. Some of you need new people. I’m just I. I said that on the podcast and I truly, truly mean it. Some of you just need new people. There are people in the world that are kind and healthy, where you can have conflict that goes both ways where you’re not always the problem and when Are your know, is it’s respected? I’m not saying that it’s not an inconvenience the other person when I tell my husband now, sometimes it’s really inconvenient for him. Right? And sometimes it’s like, he’s annoyed, but he doesn’t shame me, blame me, yell at me tell me I’m wrong.

Tell me the 17 reasons why I should say yes, instead of saying no. Okay? So like, you can accept someone’s response if they’re inconvenienced by you know, for sure. What we don’t accept is people trying to change your mind. People trying to shame you blame you yell at you call you a problem.

Here’s what I believe to be true. The greatest gift that you can give yourself and the people you love is the gift of learning to say no to non essential tasks and activities. By non essential, what I mean is not your priority, so maybe we should begin to define what are your priorities? You see how this is like a multifaceted combo? Who are the people in your life that you want to prioritize? And are you saying yes to them? One thing that I realized was because of my position in my previous church as like the youth pastor’s wife, and I was leading women’s ministry for a time and just like, because of that, there were people who would reach out and want to go for coffee, want to pick my brains, so to speak, want to have mentoring sessions, etc. that was outside of work hours. And what it did was take time away from my close friends and my family. And so I started to say no, to some really, really good things. Because I wanted to prioritize my family, and my close friends.

And I wonder if you are saying yes to some things that are really, really good, but they’re not your top priorities. I want you to understand that every time that you say yes, to something or someone, you are saying no, to something, or someone every time you’re saying yes, to help, let’s say a colleague after work, you’re saying no, to helping yourself, a close family member, a close friend. That can be okay. Certainly fine. As long as you’re cognizant of it, as long as you’re aware, there’s awareness. Some of you grew up in families, with parents who were out in the community helping but were not supportive at home, because they were giving the community the very best of themselves. Let’s not be those kinds of people. Yeah. Let’s be the kinds of people who give the best of ourselves to the people that we truly want to prioritize. That means saying no to some really good causes. So who do you want to prioritize? And what do you want to prioritize? That is a very good framework for your yes and your no. If you would like to take a moment here, go ahead and write a list of your priorities.

Who are the top five people that you want to prioritize in your life? And are you? Like, what are the top three ways that you want to spend your time? And are you doing that? What is most important to you in your life? Where do you see yourself going? Sometimes I say no to good things, just because I just know it’s not going to be a part of my life moving forward. So like, Could I spend my time on that good thing? Sure. Do I see it in my life a year from now? No. So I’d kind of rather just sit on my couch with my kids, then do that good thing. So we talked about why we suck at saying no, let’s talk about why like reasons why we might want to say no.

Okay, does that make sense? Saying no allows you to create, like, the life that you want to have. It allows you to be in the driver’s seat. It allows you to spend your time, the way that you want to spend your time and the things that you prioritize. So again, this, a lot of this comes back to your priorities. Saying no gives you space to create what you’re meant to create. Whether that is a healthy family, or an amazing company, or healthy relationship with your best friend, or whatever it is a painting, right? Like, saying no to things will allow you to create what you want to create, saying no allows you to spend time with the people that you prioritize the most in your life. Saying no, allows you to focus on what’s most important for you. And it allows you again, to be in the driver’s seat to be in pro active mode, rather than always reacting and saying yes, saying yes, saying yes. Living at the whim of other people who want things from you. Okay. So what are some ways that we can start saying No, first of all, because we are so impulsive, I would just make a across the board rule, if you would like to, I would make an across the board rule where you just never say yes, in the moment. And you can just say, I’ve made a commitment that I’m never going to say yes, like, immediately. So just give me give me an hour. Give me a day, I’ll get back to you. Let me think about it, I’ll get back to you. That is the best way to put some time, some thinking time, some space between a request and your feeling of obligation to say yes to that request. Right. So that’s one of the most amazing things that I’ve implemented is just space. Give me 24 hours, and I’ll get right back to you. I made a rule with myself and all I have to say yes, at the moment. So let me text you at the end of the day, and I’ll let you know.

Okay, that gives you some space to use your executive brain, your executive brain knows what you want to say yes to you. And your body knows. This is so important. This is so important. It’s so important. Your body knows what you’re meant to say yes to and what you’re not meant to say yes to if you ask your body, it’s gonna tell you there are a lot of you like feeling a know in your body and then allowing your brain to intellectualize and gaslight you and talk you out of your no.

Swing. So that’s why we put that stop and think moment. And so you can take some time to like, get into your brain get into your body, like, Is this something I want to do? Is this aligned with my values? Is this going to take time away from people who I prioritize? If so? Am I cool with that? Am I not cool with that? What do I want to do here? caveat. Sometimes our bodies are screaming Yes, because we have major FOMO. And we want that dopamine of doing the fun thing. For example, Hey, you want to go on a girls trip to Mexico? You know, in two weeks, and you’re kind of like, oh my god, I definitely want to go. But you are like, Oh, like this is gonna take me away from my family. Am I okay with that? My bank account doesn’t really reflect the bank account of somebody who can just take a girls trip to Mexico, so I’m not really sure. And so there are times when like, sure your body’s going to be screaming like, let’s do it. Where you do need to intellectualize and be like, well, what are the facts here? And the facts are, like, I have three kids, and we’ve got sports games and like, how are we going to like make all that happen with me and Mexico?

And, you know, I’ve got $700 to my name, and the trip is going to be $600 Do I want to be left with $100? Okay, so like, you can trust your body? Most of the time. I think your body is most trustworthy when it’s screaming No. And when it’s screaming Yes, I think you need to just look at the logistics and the logic of it first. This is making sense. So When your body is screaming, no, you gotta listen to that. Do not gaslight yourself intellectualize all of the things and be like, you’re fine. Just do it. It’s not a big deal. It’s not going to be that hard. Don’t do that to yourself. Oh, yeah, even when it’s just speaking calmly Good point, Felicity, your body might just be like, nope okay. Yeah, screaming or whispering. They’re both red flags. So I love putting in the space of like, let me check my calendar, excuse me, or I’m not gonna say yes, in the moment because I’ve gotten myself into some trouble. So let me let me give me an hour.

Okay. Sometimes you just know it’s a no right away. And if you’re practiced and feeling the discomfort, you can just be like, I am so sorry, I would love to help you. But I am not able to do that at this time. I would absolutely love to help it to know, I just can’t. Sometimes I say I have plans when my plans are just to chill on my couch with myself. I’m so sorry, I’m not able to do that I have plans to be at home in my pajamas by myself. Just because my calendar says that I am technically free, does not mean I’m actually free. Because I personally Christian Carter, I require a lot of white space in my life, in order to be able to show up and serve in this program. I require a lot of white space. So I have a lot of like putting time that really looks like I’m free when I’m not actually free. Because I really need the white space in my life in order to show up and do my job well. So for example, like in the mornings, I don’t start work until 10. And my mornings are so Patsy this morning is like a watered plants within my bathrobe. I watered plants. I folded some laundry aimlessly. I like folded blankets, like tidied up my house. It looks like I’m free. So if somebody were to ask me out for coffee in the morning, Hey, you want to grab coffee at 8am? I would say no. Because that puts time actually allows me to function. It allows me to function here. And functioning here is really important to me.

So are you allowing for white space in your life, some of y’all are filling up your life so that you don’t have to deal with your thoughts and your feelings. Some of you are filling up your lives intentionally, so that you don’t have to be alone with your thoughts and feelings. And what I want to offer to you is that, first of all, I get it. I’ve been there, I was there for three decades. And second, a lot of the work that you do in this program is going to help you with that to process your thoughts to process your emotions so that you can be alone with yourself. How he asks, dealing with your thoughts and feelings is the whitespace some of it, some of that wasn’t actively processing emotion, but I was kind of putting in allowing things to just process within me.

If that makes sense. Sometimes people will push back on your note. And that’s when you say something like it sounds like you don’t like my answer. And I know it’s probably really inconvenient for you. I’m not going to change it. I think that sometimes we resent people being inconvenienced by our know if we can just open up to like, Yeah, this is actually an inconvenience for them. It sucks when someone tells me No, when I want them to do something and they’re like, No. I don’t love that. And so I can hold space for someone else being uncomfortable or being like we want you to Are you sure Baba bah. And so now I just I let them have the reaction. But I’m like, it sounds like you don’t like my answer. And I get it but I’m not going to change it. And then once we say no, it’s our job to tolerate our emotions.

If you are not used to saying no, it’s very unlikely that you will be able to say no without feeling guilty. Feeling guilty is probably going to be a big part of this process for you. And what I will say is that feeling guilty is not an indicator that you’ve done something wrong. In this case, guilt can be a really, really useful emotion because it can tell you that you’ve crossed one of your own boundaries, or your own values. So like, if I steal money, I want to feel guilty about that. If that makes sense. I actually want to if I intentionally hurt someone, or even if I hurt someone, and it was unintentional, and they tell me, you really hurt me, I want to have that guilty feeling. It’s useful because it inspires me to take action that I can be proud of, to make amends to repair. But what happens with us, when we’re not used to saying no, is that we’ve got this mis assigned guilt. It’s going into the wrong place. We’re feeling guilty for just being a human. We’re feeling guilty because we think someone else’s desire or request is more important than what I have planned, or what I wanted to do.

And I think this and like I said, this is like a multifaceted conversation goes into like us feeling like we need to make up for having ADHD. Like, I feel bad that I like didn’t show up. Great. And so I have to go ahead and like say yes to this. And if I say no to this, I’m going to feel guilty because I didn’t show up great over here. Like it’s just all garbled up. Haley says even my guilt is hyperactive and impulsive. Exactly. And so really thinking about did I cross one of my own boundaries? asking yourself that question, okay, I’m feeling guilty. Is it because I crossed a boundary? Is it because I’m not in line with my values? Did I do something unethical? Those are important questions. If the answer is yes, perfect, the guilt is there for a good reason. But most the time when we say no to someone, and we feel guilty, it’s because it’s actually just this misplaced guilt of like, I, I feel like I have to help.

And by not helping, I feel like a bad person. And then you have to assess Am I a bad person? Or am I just a person? Okay, so here’s how we’re going to calm down guilt. We’re going to breathe. We’re going to remember that we have toes and feet, we’re gonna give ourselves like a hug that we’re gonna check in. Did I cross a boundary? Deep breath? Answer the question. Did I go against one of my own values? Or my maybe not just my own values, but like a religious value? A moral value? Okay, answer that question. Did I do something unethical? Okay, into that question. If the answer to those three questions is no, then you can just tolerate the guilt being there because it’s just a habit emotion. But it’s not actually there to tell you that you need to change your mind. Are you with me? So when I hurt someone, and they come to me, and they say, you really hurt me? And I feel guilty? And I check in with myself, did I cross one of my own boundaries? Yeah. Did they do something outside of my values? Yeah. Did I do something unethical? Depending on the situation, maybe, right? And then I can say, Okay, this guilt is here for a good reason. Let’s take some action that we can be proud of. But normally when it’s like, hey, I can you watch my kids while I go to work? And you’re like, This isn’t my only free time do not want to be watching anybody else’s kids. And then you feel guilty? Because you’re like, Well, who else is going to help her? What you need to remember is, am I being unethical? Am I out of alignment with my values? Am I crossing a boundary? No, no, no. Okay, I’m going to let this adults handle their own adult problems and I’m not going to carry it for them. A lot of you are carrying other adults problems. You’re trying to solve other adults issues. So somebody has a babysitting issue, and they’re like, I really need help. Okay, I’m not actually the solution to that problem for you. I am not the solution to that problem. I’m really sorry that you need help. I’m also not the solution to that problem. Well, why are you working? No.

It depends on the person, right? But like, honestly, some of you guys are saying yes to things. It’s like, you are being the solution for like, other adults stuff that they need to figure out on their own. Haley says, I need to tattoo I’m not the solution to that problem on my arm. Cheryl says, I keep telling my kids that they can’t fight all of their friends battles for them. I need to tell myself. Okay, there’s 10 questions in the q&a, and I have 11 minutes. Let’s go. Here we go with the questions. When to say no more in a toxic custody battle over my cousins. Kelly, I’m going to need more information. So if you want to put more info in the q&a, please feel free to do it. But I will say any toxicity is a huge no for me. It’s a huge No, please. Okay. I have said no to some things that I realized after time had passed that I would have loved to say yes to, but I couldn’t feel what it was going to be like an out of fear and other things. I didn’t do it. So how do we feel in the future when we just oh, this is such a beautiful question that I do not know how to answer. I’m going to read it again. And if you guys have suggestions, pop them into the chat. Lisa says I’ve said no to some things that I realized after time had passed that I would have loved to say yes.

But I couldn’t feel what it was going to feel like an out of fear and other things. I didn’t do it. I think in that moment, you just Yeah. Felicity now that you just can’t know. You can’t know why you just can’t know what the outcome is going to be. And so then you’re gentle with yourself, if you feel like you said no to an opportunity that like, oh, it turns out, that would have been great. You’re just gentle. And you’re just like I made the best decision at the time. Does that make sense? And then maybe give yourself an opportunity to try it? Yeah, that’s a good. That’s really good. I was really good. Okay. Okay, so Carmen, I love this. I think you were talking about like people pleasing. Is this why I say yes. But then back out at the last minute with a dumb excuse not to do the things that I never wanted to do. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Y’all know that. When you say yes to something that you don’t want to do, you’re going to figure out a way to get out of it. Nine times out of 10. And most of the time, it’s going to be at the last minute, and it’s going to majorly inconvenience other person, it’s way better to just say no upfront. So they have time to solve the problem in advance. How to say no to go into things that I don’t want to go to without saying that I don’t want to go or be rude. One thing that I say all the time is I am so sorry. I just don’t have the capacity for that right now. That sounds like so much fun. I’m just not able to go. I’ve told so many people recently, I just don’t have the capacity. I am so sorry. I love you so much. I don’t have the capacity to do it. I have a couple of friends that have reached out recently. I would say like tier two, three friends. If you’re familiar with my relationship, tears, maybe tier like 2.5. They’ve reached out to get together and I really love these people like I would totally be friends with them more actively if I just had the capacity, but right now with what’s going on in my life, and I have the capacity. And I’ve had to say to people’s faces like I really like you. But I just don’t have the capacity to even get lunch on my day off when I have nothing planned. I had nothing planned. And I still said no to lunch on my day off so that I could have white space because right now I need white space. I mean any advice on how to help teens do this? When the know is toward their parents or grandparents or I first model it for them.

Second, validate them, encourage them and let them borrow your courage and your confidence. I help them to establish boundaries, and I help to validate what they want. And I help. I’m always telling them you can say no if you want to, it’s no problem. But what if so and so gets mad? It’s not, it’s not on you, if they don’t like your answer, like, just helping them navigate all of that. But you model it, and then you let them borrow your confidence, your courage, you give them the exact words to say. So one of the things that I say, like I told my son is he can say, I’m kind of getting overloaded with questions right now. Can we talk about something else? When family members pepper him with question after question after question after question, really just sucking the life out of him. So I give him like, actual sentences to say, so maybe you might need to give your kids some things to say, Teresa, I feel like my saying no muscle is really weak. And I need to exercise it when my thought is another request. Oh, I’m so bombarded. I hope you don’t mind my dramatic reading of that, Theresa. That leads to feeling exhausted. Oh, having to say no. So many times. Yeah. Do you have any suggestions for my new thought about the situation of being asked for one more thing? Okay. This is a really good question. So what I hear you expressing is people make requests of you. And then it takes a lot of your energy to say no to that request. I think I’m getting that correct. And so right now, when people are making requests, you’re like, Ah, another requests. So annoying. I’m so bombarded. And you would like to feel confident, maybe competence a little far on the spectrum of like positive emotions. Maybe we could just feel accepting, I accept that they’re making a request, I accept that it’s hard for me to say no, I accept that I’m going to say no, and deal with whatever is coming up for me. That makes sense. So like, maybe competent is just too much. Maybe it’s just like, here they are, again, with another request. That’s okay. You can also tell certain people to stop making requests. That’s kind of boundary. I’m not going to be able to go out for lunch in the foreseeable future. So please, don’t ask me again out, I’ll let you know when I can. Right. But if it’s like different people making different requests, I think it’s more just like acceptance of like, this is part of what it feels like to be human. And I can make space for their requests, and I can make space for my own now. I hope that was helpful. I’m not sure. I don’t even know if you’re still here, Teresa, you’re still here? Yeah, you’re still here.

Okay. So okay, it makes a lot of sense. Confident. Is it as a little too positive? Like maybe we just go with something a little bit less? Okay. How do you say no, when working for yourself, like overworking social media, client requests, etc. I am very clear on my role. And so that’s really important. So my role on social media, for example, is to put value out there into the world. And to make sure that I’m interacting in that I am acknowledging people, I’m not going to coach, I’m not going to answer questions. I’m just going to acknowledge people’s responses. So for me, most of my messages are just a heart. Or like, I don’t give a lot of myself in that way. What is my role with you guys within focus, I show up twice a week on a live call. And I’m in Slack, Monday through Thursday. I’m just very clear on what my role is. And so I would get very clear, what’s my role? What’s mine to carry? Maybe you’ve cast too wide of a net for your particular role, Karina, and so maybe you can narrow it. Oh, this is such a good question. And I wish that I had thought to cover this sooner. So thank you for asking this. Alexis. What about saying no, after you’ve already said yes, I’ve done this a ton and especially in the transition period, from being a yes person to a no person. You’ll probably have a lot of situations where you’ll say yes, and then you’ll be like Shoot, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to say yes. As soon as you realize it, say now

I know I said yes to this, but I am so sorry, I am not going to be able to do it. I really want to emphasize as soon as you realize that you’ve said yes to something that you will actually want to say no to do not procrastinate. Do not put it off, take immediate action. Because what’s going to happen is, if you procrastinate, you wait to the last minute, you’re going to make it harder for the other person on the receiving and let’s say it’s a big like, I don’t know, I keep using bake sale I’ve ever actually done a bake sale. I don’t even know if bake sales are still a thing. But let’s say it’s a bake sale.

You agree to man the bake sale this Saturday? And then after you say yes, you’re like, want to do that. But you are trying to rationalize you’re like intellectualizing, it’s fine. It’s not a big deal. It’s an hour and a half. And then Saturday morning comes and you can’t get your butt out of bed, and you just miss it. Generally mean, you skip it, or you back out at the very last minute, and you totally leave them hanging rather than on Thursday. You’re like, hey, something came up. I’m so sorry, I cannot do it. How can I make it right? Not always, but sometimes you might want to add a little repair there. How can I make it right? How can I? Can I help you find somebody else to do it? You know, sometimes you just say no. And then it’s just not your problem this fall, to be exact your practice. Okay, Katie says I’ve gotten better at saying no, however, I feel like I say no too much. I feel like I need more whitespace than occupied space because of constant overwhelm I’m and I’m dysfunctional because of the overwhelm that I get in basically over nothing newly diagnosed at 27. First of all, big huge hug to you newly diagnosed at 27. Big huge patio. I truly believe that it will get better and you will learn coping skills and ways to manage all of that overwhelm. You’re not always going to feel like this. utilize the resources in this program. If you have access to a trauma informed therapist, I highly recommend you reach out for therapy as well. And maybe you don’t say no too much. Maybe you say no the perfect amount because of the situation in life that you’re in right now. So maybe you just tell yourself the truth, which is this is not going to last forever. And you say the amount of saying no that I’m doing right now is appropriate for where I am. But I’ll revisit it in three months. Does that make sense? I’ll revisit my capacity in a couple months after I’ve implemented some coping strategies.

After I’ve learned some tools, Kelly says trauma therapy plus focus equals success. I cannot agree more. sending you a big hug Katie. How do you know when you need whitespace? Or have time to plan something? Mm hmm. I think you get to know yourself over time, Heather. And I think sometimes you get it right. And sometimes you just don’t get it right. And that’s okay. It’s not going to be perfect. We’re not going for like a perfect score here. You just allow for some whitespace like, for example this weekend. On Saturday, we’re having neighbors over we move to a new neighborhood we’re having neighbors over. I don’t know why. I guess to be neighborly. On Sunday, my kid has to water polo games that are an hour away. Sunday evening. We have church with church in the evening. After church Greg wants to have people over to watch the Eagles Cowboys game. Go Eagles.

I just know that like Monday, I am going to need that whitespace like I just this the weekend is gonna be so full. I know myself well enough now to know like Monday morning is gonna be really easy. And I said to Greg, absolutely. Let’s have people over. But as long as I can go upstairs at 1030 Even if I watch the game by myself upstairs without people okay, so I think Heather that it’s just about getting to know yourself and getting to know your needs and then not requiring perfection. But like sometimes you cross your own boundaries with like not enough whitespace and then you you just make more breathing room. And that’s okay. Yes, I did say Go Eagles. second favorite team would definitely be Pittsburgh, Beth. Okay. Fine Pennsylvania teams. Also the Eagles are five and oh right now. Excuse me, the only undefeated team in the NFL. We’re gonna talk about it. Fight. You got it. Thank you. All right. Okay, I just love you guys so much. One, I just have to share this because it is hilarious. One of the applicants for focus coach training, they were required to send in a video. In his video, he was like, I’m a diehard Eagles fan. And I was like, accepted solar also is like application was incredible, but also that he included that in his video. It made me so happy like I think it’s really important that Christian knows that I am a diehard Eagles fan and I was like, Okay, you’re my people. Come on in. Alright, we’ve obviously digressing. Alright.

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