how to say no and why it matters that you do

Do you say ‘yes’ to things that you really don’t want to? Are you run ragged but if someone asks a favour you can’t help but volunteer? Are you wishing that other people wouldn’t ask so you didn’t have to shoulder the responsibility of saying no? And are you agree to things only to feel resentful later on? Do you wish you knew how to say no?

Many of us have a hard time saying no.

But if we keep saying yes when we mean to say no it means that our boundaries aren’t clear. When that happens, it can lead to exhaustion, burn out, poor self-esteem and resentment. None of which is good for your health and well-being.

I know this because I used to be one of those people.

Usually when we’re asked to do something the question we ask ourselves is ‘is it feasible?’ and you can pretty much guarantee the answer to that is going to be yes. We can always move stuff about, work an extra hour, look after just one more child, go without so someone else can have.

But what happens when we ask ourselves a slightly different question?

But what happens, if instead, we ask ourselves ‘Do I want to’? The answer to that question is often much more helpful.

Yes I could. 

But no, I don’t want to.

The reasons might be clear to you – I don’t have time, I don’t have the energy, I’ve been taking on too much lately, I’ve got something else planned. Or it just might feel instinctively not what’s right for you.

It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, it’s whatever resonates with you. You get to decide.

And the great thing is, you don’t even have to say why. It just doesn’t work for you. In fact, that’s an excellent way to respond in these situations, ‘unfortunately that doesn’t work for me’. Period.

And if you find yourself saying yes before you’ve even had a chance to work out if you can or want to, then buy yourself some time. A simple, ‘let me check my diary’. Or, l’et me have a think’.

Now saying ‘no’ is a skill and you can’t expect to get it right the first time you try it. Be prepared for it to feel clumsy and awkward and even come out really badly the first few times you try it. But over time you will become more fluent and confident. And when you say yes you’ll mean it. With no resentment brewing and an awesome exchange of positive energy taking place instead.

But you might also need to steel yourself for an unhappy response. Which is the sticky bit.

If you’re a ‘yes’ kind of person the people around you will have become very accustomed to you saying yes and may even have come to rely on it. It’s going to be difficult for them to hear you say no and they might react badly. But that’s not yours to own. And they will get used to it.

In fact, they should very quickly come to respect you for it and in turn, feel more respected themselves.

Because boundaries are good for everyone. Period.

If you don’t know how to say no and it’s affecting your health why not get in touch and we can see how I can help.

Comments are closed.