The Power of NO (Updated Post)

How often do you agree to do something when you are either completely unmotivated to do it, or are so over-burdened by other responsibilities that you feel like you are shackling yourself to an impossible schedule? Maybe you’re known as the “nicest person” who always manages to make time for everybody no matter what. And maybe you don’t want people to think otherwise about you, despite the fact that your energy and your patience are worn thin by people who always seem to drain the very lifeblood from you, and expect you to do everything for them at the drop of a hat.

Have you ever considered using the word NO once in a while? By setting limits and boundaries, you will keep energy vampires at bay, and you give yourself a chance to balance out your life so that you don’t burn yourself out. I am sure that the people who have taken your availability for granted will be stunned when you respond to a request with NO, but they’ll get used to it. Whenever I gather the courage to refuse a request, a feeling of complete relief washes over me, especially if I feel like I am drowning in the wide expanse of my to-do list.

When you refuse a request, task, or invitation, you finally allow yourself to take a break. As long as you aren’t shirking responsibilities, you absolutely should feel like you deserve to clear the space around you, especially if you are in dire need of recharging your own batteries. There’s something I say to patients quite frequently, and that is, remember to put the oxygen mask over your OWN face. If you don’t nurture yourself, you won’t perform as well in all the roles you play in your life, whether it’s employee, boss, parent, spouse, etc.

It’s completely acceptable to draw the line in the sand, and to establish boundaries which preserve your sense of self and which keep your life, and your spirit, balanced and happy. If you are having difficulty asserting yourself and getting to the power of NO, then try this: whenever someone asks you for a favor or invites you somewhere, just say that you need to think about it or check your schedule, which is not a lie, and that you will let that person know soon. That gives you a window of time to evaluate the situation, and to determine if you have the time or the resources to accommodate the invitation or request.

Another important consideration is whether you have the inclination to take part in the task or event. Be honest with yourself! I see too many people agree to do things they don’t want to do, then they are steeped in misery. This doesn’t give you permission to be difficult, selfish, or uncooperative, but it certainly gives you some breathing room. If your heart isn’t in it, then don’t do it!

Remember that you will be better equipped to serve others if you take care of yourself first.

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The Power of NO

How often do you agree to do something when you are either completely unmotivated to do it, or are so over-burdened by other responsibilities that you feel like you are shackling yourself to an impossible schedule? Maybe you’re known as the “nicest person” who always manages to make time for everybody no matter what. And maybe you don’t want people to think otherwise about you, despite the fact that your energy and your patience are worn thin by people who always seem to drain the very lifeblood from you, and expect you to drop everything for them at the drop of a hat.

Have you ever considered using the word NO once in a while? By setting limits and boundaries, you keep energy vampires at bay, and you give yourself a chance to balance out your life so that you don’t burn yourself out. I am sure that the people who have taken your availability for granted will be stunned when you respond to a request with NO, but they’ll get used to it. A feeling of complete relief washes over me when I gather the courage to refuse a request, especially if I feel like I am drowning in the wide expanse of my to-do list. Remember that you will be better equipped to serve others if you take care of yourself first.

Yes I Write Prescriptions. No I Won’t Write One For Your Brother.

As a fully licensed, board-certified physician, I have written my share of prescriptions over the years for medications, imaging studies, etc. I recognize that it is an incredible honor and privilege to be able to write scripts, and I never take advantage of it. However, there are people out there who think nothing of asking me to write prescriptions for them, simply because I am a fully credentialed physician conveniently standing there in front of them. What is especially irritating is when people dare to ask me to conduct curbside consultations or write prescriptions for their family members or loved ones who not only aren’t there with them to be examined, but who are complete strangers to me. Tell me, how in the world am I supposed to conduct a medical evaluation on a complete stranger, sight unseen? These same individuals also tend to get offended when I kindly tell them that their loved one needs to be seen in person by a qualified medical professional who can assess their condition and administer the appropriate treatment.

So if you are the kind of person who is in the habit of asking doctors to do similar favors for you or your family, please understand that your requests are unreasonable and inappropriate. If your husband, sister, son, cousin, or best friend needs medical attention, do the responsible thing and either tell that person to go see a doctor, or take that person to the doctor.

Say Thank You

thank you
I truly believe that many people these days lack manners. It is relatively rare to hear those under the age of 40 say “thank you” when a gift or favor is bestowed upon them, and utterances such as “please” and “excuse me” also seem to be increasingly rare. Is this new generation of rudeness and self-entitlement here to stay? Failing to show gratitude is, in my humble opinion, a major character flaw. How hard is it to say THANK YOU, when someone does something nice for you? I don’t know how others were raised, but I was raised to say thank you even if I was given a gift I hated. My brain is programmed to say thank you whenever someone gives me something. Yet I have repeatedly witnessed younger individuals accept gestures and gifts without saying those two small words that carry so much positive energy.

Another thing I am hearing with less frequency is “excuse me” or “pardon me” if someone accidentally bumps another person. Some incredibly rude people have almost mowed me over because they weren’t paying attention to where they were walking or pushing their shopping carts. When this occurs, I can’t help but loudly say, “EXCUSE YOU!”, because I want them to at least be aware of how rude they are. This will at times get a “sorry” or “pardon me”, but at other times, the person angrily continues, spreading negative energy and bumping into people and store displays. I think some people honestly don’t know how to be happy, and that they cling to their anger and misery because it is all they know.

If you have a habit of neglecting to use the phrases mentioned above, try using them to see if they reframe how you see the world. Slow down and stop being so angry at the world. Be nice to people and appreciate their efforts when they do something nice. Express gratitude and spread joy. It’s amazing how powerful and healing saying thank you can be.