Do you ever find yourself agreeing to do something you may not really want to do? Do you think you have a problem saying no?

Truth is, we say yes and no many times a day. 

For example, when you choose what to wear, you are saying yes to those clothes you wear and no to all of the other clothes you have. Hmm..

So, it’s not true that you can’t say no. You need to be aware of who and what you want to say no to, and who and what you want to say yes to.

You may want to be more active. You make a plan to take 20 minutes to consciously move your body. But then someone asks you to do something  else during that time you planned for yourself. You blurt out the answer, “Yes!” before you stop and think about what you planned for you, the very thing you want to do.

What happened? You did say no! You said yes to that person’s request and no to you.

This often happens when it comes to taking care of our health, the health of our body, mind and spirit, which are connected.

Some examples are:

You have pain in some part of your body. You have been advised of the types of activity that can help relieve your pain. The activity takes some time, even if only 5 minutes twice a day. You say yes to someone who asks you to do something. Then, when it comes to your healing activity, you don’t think you have time. You have said yes to that other person and no to you and your pain relief.

You want to lose some weight. You know what it takes to make this work for you. Someone offers you a food that you know won’t help you reach your goal, but you end up eating it so you don’t hurt that person’s feelings. You have said yes to that person, and no to you and your goal of losing some weight.

There are a lot of examples that we end up saying yes to other people and other things rather than ourself.

How can you change this? First, by being aware of how often you say no to you, and yes to others. 

Know you don’t need to give an answer right away. You can always say, “Let me think about it and I’ll get back with you.” It’s good to give a time when you will do so. 

If you should decide to say no, Say no. You do not owe anyone an explanation. A simple yes or no will do. 

You may think this seems selfish, but there is nothing wrong with being selfish in a positive way. Remind yourself that taking care of you can mean you can then be more helpful to others.

Please give this some thought and practice. Make your life an exclamation, and not an explanation! It can help you have more Joy in the Moment.

About the author: Joy Pape, FNP-CDCES, CFCN is a board certified nurse practitioner who believes in and practices wholistic health and healing. She is a board certified diabetes care and education specialist, and foot care nurse. She practices at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian, as well as with Dr. Rock Positano DPM, MSc, MPH, DSc, Founder and Director of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service and the Joe DiMaggio Heel and Pain Center at The Hospital of Special Services. She also has a private practice located in the West Village. 

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