The Power of Saying No

When we were once young children with a limited vocabulary, “no” was often times a favorite word of ours, but as we have gotten older, this word tends to get harder and harder to say. Why is that?

As the #1 People Pleaser in the world (might add this title to my resume), this simple two-letter, one-sylable word is the hardest word for me to grasp on to. I am a “yes” person, even though I really, really want to be a “no” person. As I have gotten older, I am become more aware to how others respond to being told “no” and it is so uncomfortable, along with immature, childish, unfair, and lame, that I try to avoid any situation similar as best I can. BUT, it is so important for your own mental wellness and for creating balance in your life, to learn how to say no and to learn how to say it without feeling anxiety and guilt afterwards.

  1. When being asked to go somewhere, to do something, for a favor, a request, regardless if its nature (personal or business) ask for time to think about it. Sometimes our initial response is to please others, so take time to see how you really feel about it and if you don’t want to, then simply say “no”.
  2. Set boundaries with people from the start. This is so important in work relationships. When co-workers or even bosses get too comfortable with your kindness, they often times expect more from you and assume that you will always say “yes” because you are kind. Setting boundaries immediately allows others to know your limits and they will understand what is acceptable and appropriate to ask.
  3. Understand your own personal limits. I can’t even tell you the amount of times I had said “yes” to social or work plans and just physically and mentally could not handle it. I was so drained and backing out of something is always so much more embarrassing and exhausting than just being honest from the start. Know that saying “no” is a form of self-care and you my friend, must act on self-care.
  4. Don’t overthink your reasoning or explanation. Truthfully, you don’t owe anyone any type of explanation for your reasons as to why you don’t want to do anything, but for the sake of politeness, keep it brief and simple. You can always pull out the “for personal reasons I have to decline”. It’s enough for the other person to understand it’s not up for debate, but it is also because of an important reason.
  5. DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT, halfway agree to anything you really want to say “no” to. Do not respond with “maybe” or any other answer that digs you in deeper to you wavering on your response. Stand up for yourself and know that you have the right to say “no”, just as you have the right to say “yes”.
  6. Last but not least, remove guilt from your refusal. You are not rejecting anyone or anything. You are simply replying and you are totally fine to do so. Never do anything your heart or gut does not want to do. It’s not worth the unhappiness, the stress, or the anxiety. Understand that you do not belong to anyone but yourself and just because you decline a situation does not make you a bad person, it makes you a strong person.

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