3 things I learned about saying "no" after agreeing to work overtime for the 243rd time in a row
5am. The squad supervisor tracked me down and asked if I would stay overtime – he needed someone to hold the fort until dayshift was at full capacity.
It had been a long night shift and I was totally spent. I longed to go home and sleep.
Nevertheless, I said yes, as I always did. Not because I wanted to, not because I had to, simply because “no” was a word I could not bring myself to say.
In law enforcement, it was not unusual for situations to arise that could not be resolved by the end of shift. Working overtime was a common occurrence. Someone would have to stay late until the next shift was fully deployed and able to take over the investigation. And on my squad, that person was usually me.
𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙣𝙡𝙮 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙𝙣'𝙩 𝙨𝙖𝙮 "𝙣𝙤"
On this occasion I asked the sergeant why he asked me and not anyone else. I have never forgotten his answer: "I knew you were the only one who wouldn’t say 'no' ”.
The truth stung. And yet I stayed, while anger and resentment percolated inside me.
I have always been a people pleaser. As someone who has always felt awkward and out of place, uncomfortable in my own skin, this was a strategy I adopted to try to fit in, to be liked, and to avoid any kind of conflict.
Resentment, anger and overwhelm were my “normal”.
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙖𝙮 "𝙣𝙤" 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙖𝙡 𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙛𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙢𝙮 𝙥𝙪𝙧𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚
I never made a conscious decision to learn to say “no”. Rather it was the natural outcome from getting clarity around my values and my life purpose.
With that clarity came the realization that when I feel resentment and/or anger and/or overwhelmed, it is because the decision I am making is either violating my values in some way and/or is not in alignment with my purpose.
Since my values and my purpose are what I stand for and I believe wholeheartedly in what I stand for, with clarity came the courage to start saying “no”.
𝙄 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙙 3 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙄 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙨𝙖𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 "𝙣𝙤"
the people who don’t accept my boundaries are those who benefited most from my people pleasing
by saying “no” to what is not in alignment with my values and purpose, I have more time for those things that are, which means there is more joy and fulfillment in my life
life is much less stressful, and feelings of anger and resentment are no longer my “normal”
𝘾𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙖𝙮 “𝙣𝙤” 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙖𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧, 𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙖𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙫𝙖𝙡𝙪𝙚𝙨, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚 𝙥𝙪𝙧𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚.
If resentment, anger and overwhelm are your "normal", if you wake up at night wondering “is this all there is?”, let's chat. At the end of our time together, you will have clarity around where you should focus your time and energy to make the changes you need to make to have the life you want.
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