Posted by: Kate | October 5, 2009

I Can So Say No

It has taken me a long time to get really comfortable in my own skin. I was the peace keeper in my family, and as such always wanted to keep people happy and content. If that meant being a super achiever academically — I was your girl. If it meant being really quiet and not fighting back — I was your girl. If it meant taking on extra jobs and responsibilities — you guessed it, I was your girl.

As Bush Boy has gotten into school there are of course the requests from school — for parent helpers, field trip volunteers, hot lunch volunteers, etc. My work has gotten busier as well. And at first I still tried to accomodate it all.

The best thing I have learned to do, is to say no. Last year some people wanted me to run for PAC President for this year. I firmly said no. That is not a position for me.  I don’t go on all the field trips. I choose where I want to spend my extra time.

Understanding that I can’t please everyone, and that sometimes saying no won’t make everyone dislike me, was a huge awakening for me. I stopped caring if everyone liked me. I like who I am so much better now, and like knowing that if I give something my time, it is because it is something I believe is worthy of my time.



  1. A tremendously valuable skill, especially when there are school volunteer things involved. And yes–never, ever undertake a leadership position unless you want it to dominate your entire life.

  2. I have finally realized the importance of saying no. It is too late for some things because I am so overwhelmed, but I can implement it going forward. Maybe I need to learn how to give stuff back?

    • I love the idea of giving stuff back!
      Although in all seriousness, it is possible to say sorry, I can no longer fulfill this. So much of what we do is voluntary, and yet we feel more obligation to it than our paying jobs. Weird, hey?

  3. kate, sometimes i feel like i am reading my own thoughts when i read your posts.
    you are right, saying no is an important skill, as is realizing that one can’t worry about everyone liking them.
    thank you for posting this – it really resonates with me.

  4. I am still learning this lesson. Hurray for you!!

  5. I just noticed that you changed your blog header. I love this picture.

  6. oh good for you Kate!!! love it!

  7. Good for you. I developed that skill in my 40’s and have never looked back. I think you also gain more respect for yourself by knowing your limits and setting your own priorities. I was a people-pleaser (doormat at times) and I felt resentful, unappreciated and overwhelmed. Not good. I guess we all have to come to a place where we figure out that we can’t please everyone and no-one will be permanently damaged if we say no.

    • I agree, Julie. You do gain more respect for yourself. And now I am so aware when that overwhelmed feeling starts to creep in that something needs to be adjusted, and it is usually something I am doing outside the family.

  8. I’m figuring this out myself. Though in my case it is work-related. I honestly love what I do so I have a really hard time saying no to someone that is asking for help with data collection or analysis or something. But I’m finally starting to realize that there are certain people who simply take advantage of that and continue to ask even though they know my plate is overflowing. The past couple of years I’ve learned to say no to some of those people…I still feel some guilt doing that, but it is getting easier and it makes my life better!

  9. Better to learn this now, than later – prevent the burnout.

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