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It’s ok to say no!

Do you find it difficult to say no?  Are you always saying yes to others at the expense of what you want?

This is a common trait for many women.  In the past I always found it hard to say no when someone asked for my help or wanted to pick my brain or to assist them physically with something. I would often say yes, even though I knew I didn’t want to do it. 

Why is that?

Partly, because I didn’t want to disappoint the other person, partly because I like to be needed and because I thought the other person would be upset and think me rude if I said no.

Over time though, I’ve come to realise that saying yes, comes with consequences.  I often felt resentful and didn’t do the task with a good heart.  It meant I got stressed about my own work because I didn’t leave myself enough time to complete my own tasks, so I would stay up late at night catching up and then be grumpy the next day.

I also realised that in trying to avoid conflict with others, I was creating terrible inner conflict because the more I said yes, the more requests kept pouring in and the more annoyed I’d get.

To be fair and honest with everyone, especially myself I learned to set boundaries.  This meant I could protect my personal space and when I did give, it was from a place of truly wanting to serve, not because I felt I had to. I realised that by saying no I was valuing myself, my health and my time with my family.

At first it was difficult to say no.  But soon I was able to do it in a kind, authentic way. Here’s what I learned:

1. Be direct – say what you mean, mean what you say, without being mean.  Keep your response short.  You can start with “sorry, I can’t.“  Don’t give a reason if you don’t have to.

2. Be honest – most people would rather you speak your truth and at least they know where they stand even if they don’t like what you have to say.  If they care about you, they will respect your answer and move on.

3. Focus on the request, not the person – we find it hard to reject people, but if you are rejecting the request/task that is easier to say no to, especially if you really don’t want to do it.

4. Remain positive – we’ve been taught to associate ‘no’ with negativity and that saying no will lead to conflict.  But it is possible to say no and remain harmonious. Saying no is just another part of human communication.  When you see ‘no’ as a bad thing (which it isn’t) this negative energy will inadvertently be expressed in your response.  If you feel guilty, that is of your own doing. Do not carry guilt, it doesn’t serve anyone.

5. Give an alternative – this is optional, so maybe you could recommend someone else who can help, or an alternative way to deal with the problem.

6. You are not responsible for others’ feelings – you are not expected to bend over backwards to make others happy or satisfied. Always putting the needs of others before yourself can be terrible for your wellbeing.  You should only give when your own cup is full.

7. Be prepared to let go – if the person is disrespectful of your needs and expects that you should always say yes, then you might want to re-evaluate the relationship.  A healthy relationship is one where both parties support one other.


Anne runs a monthly Women’s Empowerment Meetup on the Northern Beaches. And offers a FREE 20mins Clarity Call for anyone interested in finding out more about Life Coaching. She has written a book How To Take Back Control of Your Life Now! And produced an online course How To Reignite Your Spark! As well as having blogs and magazine articles published around her expertise as a Women’s Empowerment Coach. To find out more you can visit her website. https://www.2Mpower.co

Author: NBMs

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