Doreen: Hey, my beautiful friends. And how are you? So today we’re gonna talk about the art of saying No, and when we talk about the art of saying no, what that means, and it is going to also require that we talk about people pleasing and being people pleased. So if you’re ready, Let’s get started.
Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.
Hey Jeff, how are you?
Jeff: Hello. How are you doing?
Doreen: I’m great. Trying to figure out.
Doreen: Great. It’s one thing about you. I’ll ask Jeff like how his day is or how his showing went, you know, in real estate or whatever he is doing, and he’s always like, what do you. I guess it’s the ability to have a positive attitude, right?
Jeff: Yeah, that’s right.
Doreen: So let’s see what’s going on with our lives.
Jeff: Well, not much lately.
Doreen: Well, everything but not much to think about as far as anything crazy, right?
Jeff: Yes, exactly. Yeah. And it’s been a good week.
Doreen: It’s been a good week. I hope everybody out there has had a good week too.
Jeff: Getting ready for Super Bowl.
Doreen: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Okay, so I wanted to talk today about, the concept of saying no and what that means. And I, you know, as you know, most of you that are listeners of ours, I get, we get inspired by things going on in our life when we do our podcast episodes. So I’m reading a book called, actually I just finished it called Essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Les by Greg McEwen, and I love this book. You know, I’m always reading books, trying to, I just love learning and so I’m always reading, trying to figure out like new ways of doing business and open up different concepts on how to be a better, better thought person. Meaning using our thoughts to create feelings, actions, results in our life that we want.
So I’m reading this book and it talks basically about a lot of things, but mostly it’s teaching you how to really be focused on the things that you want and what that looks like. And when you focus on the things you want, especially after divorce, when you are recreating, it’s an opportunity to recreate your life.
It’s an essential time to focus on what that looks like for you. So it brought up the concept of people pleasers or being people pleased, meaning one is when you are a people pleaser and the other is when you are being people pleased.
Jeff: Yeah. One’s giving and one’s receiving.
Doreen: Right. And also the concept of saying no to things because when you are an essentialist, you are looking at every action that you take, being something towards your goal, and when you take on by saying yes to something, for example, that you really shouldn’t be doing because either you don’t wanna do it so that you’re gonna have regrets doing it, or you’re gonna have, what’s the word I’m looking for towards that person? A Resentment.
Doreen: Right? Resentment. Or, because it doesn’t fall in line with your bigger picture, your bigger plan.
Let me just give you an example. If I choose tonight, which I’m planning to work out this evening or sometime later today, right? So if I choose, if a friend calls me and says to me, Hey, you know it’s Friday, let’s meet up for cocktails. And I haven’t seen her in a while and I’d really like to spend time to her, with her and I make the decision because she was kind enough to ask me to go.
She thought about a place to go. Maybe I’m thinking it would be rude for me not to say yes but I take away from my bigger goal by doing that, instead of focused on going to work out for that, let’s say hour and a half, that is not me being focused on my bigger goal, which is to get in shape, right? So, It’s okay to say no or it’s okay to say can’t do it today, or we could do it maybe later, but right now doesn’t work for me.
Doreen: Does that make sense? So, I wanted to talk about that cuz I think it’s really important. I think a lot of us go around or live in this world saying yes to things. that we really don’t want.
Jeff: Well, I think a lot of it has to do with not wanting to hurt somebody’s, or you think you’re gonna hurt somebody’s feelings by saying no.
Doreen: Exactly. But then you’re not being authentic. You’re in essence being, I mean, I’m gonna use the word a liar, because if you’re doing something that you don’t want to do just to make that other person happy, that’s not an authentic relationship, you know.
Jeff: And it is I think it escalates negativity within the relationship.
Doreen: Of course. Resentment.
Jeff: Resentment, yeah.
Doreen: Right. So, I have talked about this, subject, I’ve basically touched on it before, so episode, because when you talk about saying no, and you talk about being focused on your priorities, your goals, you have to set boundaries. So there’s two episodes, episode 8 and episode 9, which is episode eight is internal boundaries, meaning what it sounds like for yourself.
And then episode nine is about clear external boundaries and what those look like. And then I also did an episode before episode number 32, which is people pleasers and what that is. So today’s again, about saying no and the art of saying no is something that a lot of us, I think have difficulty doing like you said, you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, right?
Doreen: So let’s give some examples of that. I mean, one that comes up for me that was something I dealt with when the kids were home. And you know, in school, especially in elementary and junior high school, is when they would ask me and the school would ask, or the teacher would ask, or whomever would ask from the school, could you partake in?
Could you assist in, for example, baking goods for a bake sale, you know, or something like this, and or like being present or helping out with an event now. And at the risk of maybe sounding somewhat, I don’t know, cold or whatever the word might be, and some people I’m sure are gonna take issue with this episode, but, you know, working full-time, raising four children, having a family, I knew that my focus had to be within certain parameters in order to focus on my bigger picture, which at that time was building my practice, being dedicated to my family when I had time off and what that looked like.
So what I would typically say, and it took me years to learn how to do this, and it was through my own studies that we’re teaching and sharing with you today. I used to say yes all the time, and then what would happen is I would be there at 10 o’clock at night, let’s say, making cookies, or whatever it was.
And of course it had to be homemade because that was my thinking, and regretting it as I was tired. I had things to get up for, you know, to go to court the next day. I didn’t wanna do this. I wasn’t spending quality time with my children and I was making all these cookies. So I learned eventually how to just say no.
I’m not going to make something for the bake sale, but I could donate some resources to the cause, meaning, you know, maybe I could donate a contribution or work with somebody who would make the cookies who maybe had more time available, in essence and donate that way. But it, and you know what, you don’t even have to do that.
Like, you can simply just say no, you know, and not give a reason why. Now that’s hard for a lot of people, right?
Jeff: Yeah. I think the main issue is how you come across when you say no. There’s a positive way and of course a negative way. And if you just say, no, I’m not gonna do it, and don’t ask.
I mean, they’re gonna take it in a negative way. But if you say, you know, I would love to, however, with my schedule doesn’t allow it.
Jeff: You know, it’s a little bit way, a better way of coming across.
Doreen: And people are still gonna take it as being rude because it’s your school as an example, and you’re, you know, expected to contribute.
And you can contribute, but you have to do it without regretting it, without being resentful, without taking away from the other things in your life that are important to you. For example, if snuggling with your kids at night and reading them a story is something that you do, but now you’re gonna be making the item for the book, for the bake sale.
You’re gonna resent it, right? And that’s time missed with your children. So when you look at what you say yes to, or what you say no to, the first thing you need to do is really have clear understandings of what your priorities are. What do you want in life? You know what is, because you’re only given a certain amount of time in a day, right?
So you have to say, what are my priorities? What are my, what are my things that I want in my life? Where is my focus gonna be? What do I, what’s, what am I passionate about? You know what’s really important to me? That’s the first part of it, right?
Jeff: Yeah. I mean, I think that one you just made me think of something when you talk about be true to your day, is I let people interrupt my schedule a lot.
You know, for an example, if somebody wants to see a property that I have listed, and I have other things on the calendar, I’ll say, sure, yeah, yeah. I can show it to you and that’ll I have to rearrange or mess up my, the rest of my day or my schedule. And it kind of, it puts, makes it tough on me.
Jeff: I’m making it harder on myself by saying yes to somebody. I could have said, well, can you see it tomorrow instead?
Doreen: And most of the time they’re gonna say yes.
Jeff: Probably yes.
Doreen: Yeah. So it’s that it’s that mental constraint. It’s that ability to say no, to propose an alternative that works for you and likely the other person, and to stay true to your calendar.
We do something, Jeff and I, it’s a Monday download where we on, I do it on Sundays. Sometimes on Saturdays where I write down everything that I think I have to do, everything from business related, children related, fun stuff, family stuff, I just write it down. Right? And then I decide out of all of those things on the list, what things I really don’t want to do, and I start to refocus them. Meaning, do I really want this to be part of my life? Like, why am I doing this? Is this part of my goals. Then what I do is I start to prioritize what are the things that are gonna make the most impact for my upcoming week on my goal? And usually that’s the thing that I don’t want to do, right?
So for example, if I’m writing a blog for a website and I’m putting it off because for whatever reason, I just don’t feel like writing that is a thing I probably should do first. The thing I don’t want to do. So I prioritize. I put down the most essential things towards my goal. Like I kind of rate them like, if I get this blog out there, that’s seo, that’s getting out to the public, that’s getting them awareness in our business, you know, for them to potentially look at hiring us.
So do this first as opposed to checking my emails, which generally sounds like a great idea, but doesn’t get me closer to my gold. Does that make sense?
Doreen: Then I put everything on my calendar. And you know, so it’s interesting because my company, my firm, whomever, will try to schedule something and they’ll see like this block of d y work time, and I know what I’m doing during that work time of two hours I put there, you know, I’m working on a blog, I’m doing whatever I’m doing. Right? And they don’t really know. And so they’ll try to interpose or something into that schedule, and I’m like, no that time is blocked for a reason. Please find another time, you know, because it’s okay to say no.
Jeff: Well, let let me ask you a quick question. Is it the ability to say no? Or is it because you’re trying to be a people pleaser?
Doreen: What do you mean?
Jeff: Well, I can say no. I have no problem saying no, but if somebody comes and asks me something and I’m a people pleaser. I’m gonna say, sure, yeah, I’ll do it.
Jeff: So, but I’m trying to be a people pleaser. It’s not that I have a problem saying the word no.
Doreen: Okay. So what’s the question?
Jeff: Well, would be probably the be most beneficial to work on? The ability to say no or the ability not to be a people pleaser?
Doreen: They’re both. So we’re talking about the concept of being a person who people pleases, does things, asks for things or people please usually is for some other motive. Right?
Doreen: I like to think of the example, and maybe some of the listeners have done this in the past where there’s somebody that you like, you know, you’re interested in someone, and this usually happens earlier in life, you know what I’m saying? Like when you’re younger.
Okay. Where you do things, you go out of your way to try to make this person like you, even though they’re not responding by doing nice things for them going to their house and dropping off a gift, you know, just randomly doing these things that most people would think, oh, that’s so sweet, but you’re doing it with the motivation to get this other person to like you.
That’s being a people pleaser. You should do something for someone else and not expect anything in return. So you have to, if you’re a people pleaser, and there’s a lot of us out there, you wanna think about, why am I doing this? Why am I being, you know, why am I people pleasing here? Am I doing it because I truly wanna do it because it’s my heart’s desire and I don’t expect anything in return?
Or am I doing it for some other purpose? Right?
Doreen: That’s digging deep.
Jeff: And I know when you first discovered the people pleasing very you know, back in the, the last, when you did episode, eight and nine and also number 32,
Jeff: You had, you became a recovering people pleaser, I guess you call it.
Doreen: Oh, cuz I was one of those people that thought I could do it all. I had these notions as a young person, and that’s why I think it’s so imperative that we teach this what we teach in in our podcast to people that are younger. Can you imagine if they understood all of these concepts, the concept, even just about thoughts, creating results in your life and how you can change negative thoughts, which end up in negative results by just switching your thoughts a little bit on something and you’ll get the positive result if we taught those things earlier in life.
Jeff: But that’s where that saying came. If I knew then what I know now, right?
Doreen: And I, you know, so early in my life I thought I can be the best lawyer, I can be the best mother, I can be the best wife, I can have the most beautiful home.
I can have the greatest friends, you know, on and on and on. And that just doesn’t work because you end up being a people pleaser in so many areas of your life. And it’s really not what you wanna do. Does that make sense? Sure. Yeah. So there’s a people pleasers and then there’s a people who are people pleased.
Jeff: Right. Well, I, and I know,
Doreen: Think of an example of being people pleased.
Jeff: People pleased, probably, being an enabler, is let’s say you’re trying to please somebody. Let’s say,
Doreen: No, you are being pleased.
Jeff: Right. I’m just trying to think of something where on the, it’s the other way around cuz you’re not, you’re the pleased, not the pleaser where let’s say you have a buffering problem, you eat too much and so your spouse is always maybe cooking for you or enabling you to be that.
Jeff: That abuser of food.
Doreen: Oh, we all have these in our life, right?
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, sure.
Doreen: You call them Aunt Shirley’s.
Jeff: Yeah. Don’t Aunt Shirley,
Doreen: So let’s go back for a minute.
Jeff: Okay. All right.
Doreen: So, for example, when someone wants to bring you food, cook for you, offer you more food, sounds like a beautiful thing, right? When your person you’re dating says, I wanna make dinner for you tonight. And let’s say you’ve really been on a, you have this focus, you have this goal of eating less sugar and flour and, you know, maintaining a certain amount of calories because you have a big health goal in mind.
You know, and this person makes a beautiful meal for you with, you know, pasta and, and desserts and bread and all the things that, you know, they think you love, but it’s not on your diet. How do you address that. , you know, how do you address that?
Jeff: Well, let me first give a little background on who Aunt Shirley is.
Doreen: Go ahead.
Jeff: Okay. And then, because also, you know, like you were saying, you have this goal of getting in shape or whatever. It could be when I was a young child, I had no fitness goals or losing weight goals, but indirectly she was doing some damage with my eating habits. So anyway, back then, back then, aunt Shirley amazing my, one of my favorite aunts. And after dinner she would continue to feed you and she would let me get you this.
Doreen: You have a little more, please.
Jeff: Would you have a little more?
Doreen: You look hungry.
Jeff: You look starving. You haven’t eaten in what? Five minutes. And so it became known in the family is don’t Aunt Shirley me.
Doreen: Right. Instead of saying, no thank you, I’ve had enough. You actually likely said,
Jeff: Oh, of course. Yes.
Jeff: Bring it on. Bring it on.
Doreen: You didn’t wanna hurt her.
Jeff: Well, I didn’t wanna hurt her feelings, but I also became a little bit overweight and I would eat it.
Doreen: Yeah, of course.
Jeff: And was good. She could cook. So, but indirectly she was doing some damage to my mental.
Doreen: That’s a different issue. But the issue today really is focused on when you say no, when somebody’s trying to do something nice for you, that is perceived as being nice.
For example, cooking you a meal. If someone says to you, Hey, can I cook you dinner tonight? . Let’s say you already have your dinner packed because you’ve already decided that this is what I’m eating tonight. You can simply say, no, tonight’s not gonna work. However, you know, tomorrow would be great. Or the next day, and, and I’m on a health kick.
So can we talk about, you know, what we’re gonna be preparing? And it’s okay to just say that that way. So there’s ways of saying no to being people pleased that keep you true to yourself. You don’t, you’re not a liar. You’re staying focused on your goals and can be taken respectfully by the other person, and I would suggest that if they don’t, you might wanna reconsider that relationship or maybe the way in which you’re approaching them as a consideration.
When I was reading this book, it was just like, first of all, I found it to be an excellent book, but. just reinforced how important it is in your day-to-day life to think about the choices you’re making towards those big goals. Right? And to set those as your priorities.
Jeff: How does it make you feel when you do have your people pleasing under control?
Doreen: What do you mean?
Jeff: In other words, you know, the ability to say, no, you know, I know something, it may hurt somebody else’s feelings, or, you know, forget about the other person for now. How does it make you feel when you say no?
Doreen: True to myself.
Doreen: I mean, and after divorce, I know that especially those that have children out there, right?
You’re really, really focused on trying to stabilize the life of your children. You’re trying to, you know, get everything back into some kind of rhythm and you’re concerned about them. And, and a lot of people that we coach they’re focused on that. And it sounds like a beautiful thing, right?
That you’re focused on your children and helping them to get past the divorce, and that’s great, you know? You have to remember yourself. You have to, you know, and I use this a lot, put your air mask on first, right? Is that what they call it?
Doreen: And then there a reason they tell you that when they do the safety, you know, safety, items on airplane, right?
Checklist, and then you help somebody else. So when you’re a people pleaser, you tend to get burnt out too, because you’re constantly in that mode of really putting everybody else before yourself.
Jeff: What about your experience of after divorce? Not like they’re, they’re trying to buy for the, the children’s attention, but they want, let’s say I want my kids to like me more than their ex, ex mother or ex father.
And they’re trying to be people pleasers to try to get the kids to like them more.
Doreen: Oh, we could do a whole episode on that.
Jeff: I would think you could.
Doreen: You know what, that might be something to consider doing soon because I see that a lot, I see a lot of families in which one side of the family, so let’s say dad has certain rules and or not lack of rules about anything maybe it’s bedtime eating, study habits, you know, screen time, whatever it is. And then, the other party, let’s say mom has a different set of rules, right? And then what I find is sometimes there’s a parent who permits their children to kind of run wild and not have a lot of rules because they’re trying to, people please their child.
They’re trying to appease them. They’re trying to, I think that’s what you’re saying. They’re trying to assure they like me more than mom or that my time with them is all about fun and I don’t want conflict, so I’m not gonna set that, that bedtime to be, you know, at 10 o’clock you have to be in bed, lights off because they don’t want to.
And they’re like, dad, I really don’t wanna go to bed yet. You know, just another half an hour. And they’re like, yeah, it okay. Right. And what happens is, you know, kids want rules. They want, they want boundaries. They want discipline. And I see that a lot. And it ends up, you know, as we can imagine cultivating into behaviors of these, you know, the children that evolve into, you know, teenagers and then young adults, that can be challenging to difficult and difficult to deal with because you didn’t set those boundaries, right?
People pleasing your children is a subject all in of itself.
Jeff: Or it could be people pleasing with a motive because what is your motive for people pleasing and in this case, you know, there’s a negative motive there.
Doreen: Well, the motive is to get the children to wanna be with you more because you have less rules.
Right. It’s more fun to be at dad’s house. He lets us, you know, eat what we want and stay up late. And at mom’s house she’s like, no, you have to like, eat this less screen time and be to bed on time. So, parents might wanna think about that as well. Right. We do it a lot with our time. You and I.
With others, meaning like we, you know, fortunate we have a beautiful network of people in our life and friends and acquaintances and you know, business relationships that we love and we have cultivated for many years, but, we are very sparing with our time outside of our relationship because we both work very hard.
We’re very focused on our careers and when we have downtime, our priority, I think, is to assure that our relationship is nurtured as number one priority. And sometimes that means just being together. And sometimes that means going out with others. And then sometimes that means restricting how many things we say yes to.
Jeff: And it could be just giving you some downtime alone.
Doreen: Or you personally.
Jeff: Yeah. Cause that definitely is good for the relationship, you know, giving you some time to yourself.
Doreen: Yeah. That’s important as well, right?
Doreen: Yeah. I need a little more of that sometimes. Hint, hint,
Jeff: I’m leaving . .
Doreen: It’s like when I go upstairs to my room and I just wanna like our bedroom, I should say, and I just wanna like, chill out and just like read and be in this quiet space.
And then you come in and it’s like you’re walking back and forth and you’re in your bathroom making noises and it’s like, and you know the dogs are following you and your phone’s going off. And I’m like, oh my gosh, I just wanna have like an hour of just me time , right?
Jeff: Yeah. Is that why you put that dead bolt in the front, in the bedroom door?
Doreen: That’s what do not disturb. Oh, do not disturb. Maybe I should get one of those and put it on the door.
Jeff: Yeah, you. put a woman at work.
Doreen: Person at work, right? Yeah. So basically it’s about, and setting boundaries is really important. I talk about that, like I said in, what was it? Episodes eight and nine. Boundaries really, people think they know what boundaries are, because boundaries go with people pleasing, right? To say no is a boundary. Okay. So boundaries are really important. Most people don’t know how to do boundaries. They don’t, they understand the concept of what a boundary is, but they don’t know how to implement and force the boundary.
So I’d love to give the example about Spencer when Spencer was, you know, a teenager and we were having some challenging times coming home. . Yeah. He used to come home. We had a, you know, a time. He had to be home. But we were bad at enforcing that because I believe that you were in that mode of people pleasing him because you felt a lot of guilt from your divorce.
Doreen: So you let him kind of slide on things.
Doeen: A lot.
Doreen: And it took until it took years for you to recognize that. And for me, I hopefully, hopefully.
Jeff: You pointed it out in a very positive.
Doreen: That’s what I was, was gonna say.
Jeff: You pointed it out in a very forceful way.
Doreen: Yeah. Not so good.
Jeff: But no, no, no, no. Some things had to be done because it was getting outta hand.
Doreen: So what was happening, so that the listeners know is he was coming in, you know, at let’s say the girls were asleep. Everybody’s like in bed at like 11 o’clock at night. There’s school and work the next day, and he’s coming in at like midnight.
So the alarm’s going off, the dogs are barking, everybody in the house is, you know, awake. And then he’s in the kitchen making food, doing what he is doing, watching tv, and we’re all like, what is going on? So we had tried different ways of getting him to comply with our deadline unit to come in.
Doreen: And most of it was like, Hey son, you know, it’s really disruptive when you come in at this hour. Everybody’s asleep and so please don’t do it. Well, that went in one ear and out the other.
Doreen: Here’s what setting a boundary looks like. If you come in after 11:00 PM the door will be locked, see, because then we have a clear, he knows why.
We’ve already explained why he understands the underlying reason. And, and depending on the age of the child, you may not even need to explain the underlying reason. Like, we need sleep. You’re disrupting the rest of the family. We all have, you know, to get up in the morning well rested. He understood that, but he wasn’t adhering to it.
So explain to him, if you come in after 11:00 PM the door is gonna be locked and you will not be able to come in. Now, what did that mean? To us, we know that, first of all, we had to set the boundary, have a clear understanding, which we did, and then to enforce the boundary. So there was one time that he came in, it only took one time.
He came in late. And the doors was locked and he was blowing up your phone.
Doreen: And you did everything in your power not to answer those desperate please of Let me in, I wanna go to sleep. I am sorry. It’ll never happen again. Which you had heard many times. It took everything within your power to let it happen, to enforce that boundary.
Now, in our home at the time, there was an outside like porch area. And of course his car is in the garage, you know, driveway area. So he could have slept in the garage outside and, you know, at six o’clock in the morning or five 30 when you woke up, you let him in. Do you remember that?
Jeff: I do. I do remember as of it was yesterday.
Jeff: He was never late after that.
Doreen: No, he wasn’t. So that a clear understanding of a boundary setting it something you have control over. Right.
Jeff: Well, what I like about the boundaries is it makes saying no a lot easier. So you’re kind of setting yourself up for success by setting those boundaries.
Doreen: And you know, some people may think that, you know, doing this is unkind setting these strict boundaries, but who are you being unkind to? Right? I would venture to say that you should be a priority. And if you choose to be unkind to yourself over someone else, you might wanna rethink that and why you’re doing that. Again, going into that, people pleasing.
Jeff: Yeah, and indirectly you’re also lying to the other person too. So isn’t, you’re not just being not nice to yourself, but you’re not being nice to others by not telling them the truth.
Doreen: Right. Exactly. All right, so that was our episode for today about people pleasers and being people pleased and setting boundaries.
Jeff: I believe that was number 79.
Doreen: Episode number 79.
Doreen: Wow. They come and go so quickly.
Jeff: I think we have 80 next.
Doreen: Yes. We’ll have to do a celebration when we hit a hundred.
Jeff: Yes. That sounds great. I like celebrating.
Doreen: I do too. I do too. All right, so everyone, listen, I hope you got something out of this episode.
Think about setting boundaries, people pleasing, being people, please saying no to people in a kind and respectful way, not doing things that you truly don’t want to do based on the goals that I know that you are working on after divorce to make sure your priorities that you’re passionate about, that you want for your life.
Jeff: Set those boundaries.
Doreen: Set those boundaries, and focus in on those goals. All right, my friends, have a beautiful, beautiful week. Be kind to yourself and others and remember, you can have an amazing life after divorce. And we’re here for you. Bye.
Jeff: Bye bye. You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at lad-coaching.com. That’s L A D as in life after divorce dash coaching.com.
Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.