Learning how to say no isn’t always easy. That’s because we strive to be “people pleasers”. Unfortunately, we suffer from trying to do this.
When it comes to friends and loved ones, no one likes to say no. When someone we love is in need, we want to do everything in our power to meet that need. The truth is, we can’t always do this. Sometimes we have to learn how to say no, even when we want to say yes.
But what’s the best way to do this?
How to say no when it’s difficult
Once upon a time, I was in a relationship where I tried to say yes all the time. I said yes to social events, yes to purchases and even yes to activities that I hated. After a while, I started to feel drained and taken for granted.
This does happen, and this is only one reason why you should learn to set boundaries for yourself and learn how to say no. Here are a few ways to do that too.
Think of the benefits
When you say no, you ’re saying yes to other things, things which can actually be more important. When you hesitate with handing out a negative answer, just remember the benefits of using this answer.
Ask yourself what will happen if you say yes or if you say no, then weigh the pros and cons. This helps so much with feeling good about saying no.
For instance, if you say yes to doing something you really don’t want to do, you could be saying no to your happiness or mental health. Just think it through.
1. Give yourself permission
Guess what? It’s your right to say no to whatever you please. You do not have to go somewhere, you do not have to meet anyone, and you do not have to do anything you don’t want to do, period.
You must respect yourself first and foremost, despite what someone else wants. If you want to say no, then say it proudly.
2. Evaluate your reasons
Why are you not saying no when you want to? There are reasons why you choose the affirmative over the denial, and it could be a number of reasons.
One of the most common reasons for letting people have their way all the time is because you’re afraid they will not like you.
Now, in order to break this, you have to start saying no, honestly. It may help if you evaluate your reasons and realize the importance of throwing these reasons out completely. Over time, it will get easier to do.
3. Vocalize your boundaries
Make sure you calmly and peacefully remind the other person of your boundaries. Tell them that you feel better saying no this time. It doesn’t have to be rude at all.
Although this might be scary at first, considering you want the other person to be happy with you, it’s necessary in order to retain a higher quality of life.
4. Do not justify yourself
Although you will want to justify why you are saying no, it often dilutes the power behind the response. Instead of giving reasons and excuses, just say no and walk away.
It will be incredibly difficult, but after the first few times, they will start to respect you a lot more for your firm stand.
When is setting boundaries necessary
Now you have a few ideas about how to say no, but it’s easier to understand this when you know which situations call for setting these boundaries. When is it time to say no? Let’s take a look.
When you have too many commitments already, then it’s a bad idea to say yes to more. Never spread yourself too thin no matter how badly someone wants you to do something.
They won’t be the ones suffering from an overwhelming amount of responsibilities, so it’s easy for them to criticize you. If you have enough to do, then you have a right to say no to more duties.
Some things are more stressful than others. Maybe it’s not so hard to pick up something at the store for someone, but it’s a much bigger responsibility to commit to babysitting for a month.
This is a situation where saying no could be a smart choice. Maybe you can say yes to running an errand, but no to promising hours of your life for an entire month.
If you are being pressured to give a certain response and to do it quickly, then it could be a good reason to learn how to say no, at least for the time being.
First, you can ask them if you can sleep on it, and if they seem irritated and press for an answer, sometimes you might just have to deny them upfront. No one should feel pressured to give in to anything.
Never say yes out of guilt. If you do, you will regret your answer later. That’s because you usually don’t want to do what’s asked of you because you just feel bad for something else.
You feel the need to make up for something you wouldn’t do before. Try to avoid these situations, as they will cause resentment to form between you and your friends or loved ones.
5. Mental Harm
If anything being asked of you would cause you mental discomfort, then it’s best to say no. Remember, your mental health is more important than staying in someone’s good graces.
After all, if you can’t respect yourself and your mental health, no one else will either.
Boundaries are good things
You have to change your mindset, actually. You have to see boundaries as good things, things which cultivate good mental health and well-being. Although it’s not good to be selfish, it’s also not good to neglect self-care either.
When making a choice, weigh all your options and ask yourself why you are giving the answer. You should now be able to understand when it’s right to say yes, and it’s time to learn how to say no.
Be fearless….and say what you mean.
By Sherrie H.