Why is it so difficult to say the word no? Isn’t it just a word?
Many people go though each day with a heavy burden of being afraid of saying no because they fear rejection; worried that every time they said no, they would disappoint someone, make them angry, hurt their feelings or the dreaded appear unkind or rude. It’s a heavy burden to carry because the urge to say yes also comes with a lack of self-confidence and self-value.
“Live your life for you not for anyone else. Don’t let the fear of being judged, rejected or disliked stop you from being yourself.” – Sonya Parker
If you’re like many and and you have trouble saying no, these thoughts may help.
Remind yourself that it doesn’t mean that you are being selfish or unkind. These are unhelpful beliefs that will make it hard to say no when you really need to. It may do some good to figure our where these beliefs came from.
Knowing the root of these feelings and the habit of saying yes at your own expense can give you clarity as to how to change your thinking and to know when to say no. Now that we’re adults and know the difference between wrong and right, no should not be an off limits word. Rather it should be a decision we make based on our own boundaries and discretion.
Realize that you are valuable and choose your own opinion about yourself over others. If we live our life depending on other people’s approval we will never feel free or happy. When you depend on another person’s approval, you are saying to yourself and to them that their opinion is more important than your own.
Know the difference between judgment and discernment. Judgment is other centered – it conveys that something is wrong with someone else. Discernment is me centered and is centered in our self and our truth. Discernment gives you the power to say I no longer want to focus on others first. Knowing these differences will help you not feel like you are a bad person when you say no.
When we say yes, and we really wanted or needed to say no, we are setting ourselves and the other person up for resentment. In the moment, agreeing to something we don’t want may feel like you’re being respectful however, if you become resentful it becomes toxic and fuels our anger until it comes out like a volcano. Instead, it is much kinder to ourselves and others if we set boundaries which will help guide our decisions and reduce resentment.
Sometimes we’re afraid of saying no because we’re concerned that nothing better will come along or this is as good as it gets. If the way things are showing up in your life aren’t serving you, release those thoughts and feelings and stay focused on what you want and need.
Saying no is about respecting your own time and making sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin. Helping others makes us feel good, but if we say yes to everyone who asks we’ll never be able to do it all. Also……when you do take on a request, make sure it’s something that you’ll enjoy. It won’t be helpful to anyone if you take on too much or things that don’t make you happy.The fears of saying no is in our minds. Saying no doesn’t mean that there will be conflict or that you’ll loose opportunities in the future. It also doesn’t mean that you’re burning bridges, being disagreeable, selfish or rude.
It’s how we say no rather than the fact that we’re saying it that affects the outcome. You have your own priorities and needs – just like everyone else does! Saying no is about respecting and valuing your time and energy – saying no is your prerogative.
- Focus on what matters most to you. Examine your obligations and priorities before making any new commitments. If it won’t fit in or it will increase your stress – you have your answer and it is no.
- Take guilt out of the decision. Don’t agree to a request out of guilt or obligation.
- Buy yourself time. By saying you need to think about something allows you the time to work on your “yes” knee jerk reaction. It also allows you to articulate your reason why.
- Don’t apologize. If you can’t do it, you can’t do it. Apologizing can weaken the message of no.
- When saying no – be honest. Saying no is about protecting your boundaries and your obligations, it’s not about the other person.
- Don’t send mixed messages. Saying: “I better not but I want to be helpful.” Isn’t being clear. Just say no.
- Be brief. Saying no makes many people nervous so we keep talking and talking. Use the KISS acronym to: Keep It Short & Simple.
- Be gracious. Thank the person for thinking of you and ask them to think of you again in the future. No doesn’t mean no forever.
Learning to say no is an important part of simplifying our life and managing our stress. With practice you’ll find saying no will get easier.