Whatever your political outlook, here in the UK we have woken to the news that Boris is still our PM.
I’ve seen comments of anger, disappointment and disillusionment. Meanwhile, the half happy with the result will be annoyed that others aren’t accepting defeat graciously.
Goodwill holds this country together
This country is run on a huge amount of goodwill. Not only in the NHS but in all public sectors and many private too. If we take academia as an example. The number of times I’ve seen academics put aside their mountain of work to ensure that a student gets the help they need (both emotionally and intellectually). Is that ever recorded on the REF report? Yet, we continue to do these things because the outcomes matter and we care.
I’m someone who cares and feels emotions deeply. As I child, I was often referred to as, “overly emotional”. What I have learned more recently, is that caring counts. It’s a very special quality that means something.
In the past, I have been very guilt of stepping in to fill a gap because I care. But it was driven by the need to be liked (a strong Pleaser). I can still give but from an empowered place without putting myself in a huge deficit.
Pause and Reflect
By taking a moment to pause and reflect and open a genuine dialogue I can understand more fully what is required of a yes and make a more informed choice.
Here’s a non-confrontational conversation for those times when you absolutely know that you need to say no but you want to do it gracefully, without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Saying No Gracefully
Let’s say someone asks you help at the school Christmas fair, but you are absolutely tapped out this year. You COULD, the day is free, but you would exhaust yourself if you did.
1. Acknowledge the person:
‘‘Thank you for asking me to help out at the fair.’’
Notice this is respectful and grateful, and leaves the door open for if you want to provide for that person’s need later
2. State the boundary
‘‘Thank you for asking me to help out, but that doesn’t work for me right now / this year / this week.’’
One very important note here: in the case of a request, do not start by saying you’re sorry, and don’t give excuses! It’s so easy to automatically respond to a request with ‘‘Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve got a million things to do…’’ It’s cleaner and kinder to simply state the boundary and move on.
3. Is it a deal-breaker?
Most requests are unlikely to be deal-breakers, but I can imagine some requests that might have consequences. For instance, a toddler asking for 100th time to watch Peppa Pig. In that case, the format is the same as above. ‘‘I have said no. If you ask me again, there will be no more pigs today OR tomorrow.’’
4. Collaborate on a way forward
Back to our fair example. Perhaps you would say ‘‘Now let me see if I can think of anyone else who might be able to help you.’’
Generosity and Battery Life
When we give from a place of fear, this is a disempowering archetype at play (usually The Pleaser or Superwoman). We expect something in return: praise, thanks or to be liked.
When we give from an open heart without any expectations in return, this is generosity. There is no silent “hook”.
But if we give from an empty battery, we go into deficit. It’s not sustainable.
You wouldn’t let your phone go into the red. Don’t let yourself.
What are the things you need to be just okay? Are you getting them consistently?