"Your biggest weakness is not being able to say no."
Growing up, I was raised that I do not speak unless I was spoken to. I was reprimanded when I said things in the middle of conversations. I was taught to never say anything to a someone I didn't know because of "stranger danger". It was considered rude if I shared my opinion if it was on the opposing side.
When I got my first job, I was told to utilize all resources before going to anyone above me for help otherwise it would show lack of competence to do my work. This fear from that moment forward was engraved in my personality that the "boss" should never really know my name. If they knew it, it would be for the wrong reason. After working for 10+ years, I have finally settled in a career where I had my first 2 year review and I was praised. They were the ones, though, who pointed out that my weakness is not being able to say no to others. I have no problem when it comes to patient's and following guidelines. But when someone else needs help, I always jump on it.
I'm the type of person who would rather do the job myself and get it done, rather than rely on others.
The idea of not being able to say no brought up other thoughts about giving consent. In the past, I have been afraid to tell people the word "no". That's put me in situations that resulted in sexual assault. Thankfully, it's been a few years since the last incident, but I truly don't know if I have it in me to say that.
Setting boundaries is definitely difficult for me to do. I'm so conditioned to do everything I can to please people and stay out of authority's eye, but it just isn't healthy nor safe. Finding my voice is one thing, and it's another to have it defy what is going on around you. But as always, there's so many ways to do this. I don't necessarily have to be mean about saying no (depending on the situation). I can still stay professional while turning something down. I guess I just didn't realize that this was an issue until my own supervisors had said it to me.
These are examples that I have either been given or found with my own google searches and I thought I'd share. Again, it's all dependent on what's happening, so please take everything with a grain of salt.
"I have other things to do right now. If I have time, I can help."
"I'm flattered, but I can't."
"Unfortunately, that's not something I can do."
"Thanks, but that's not working for me."
"Thank you for thinking of me, but I'm going to turn it down."
Staying stern, but polite seems like the key to it all.