Saying no is such a big issue for a lot of people. Not being able to say no can become debilitating and even soul destroying, so it’s an important thing to address.
This reminds me of that Jim Carrey movie, “The Yes Man”, in which he must say yes to everything and everyone, and he ends up exhausted and in big trouble.
Saying no to people or things that we can’t or simply don’t want to do is a way of asserting ourselves that hugely contributes to our self esteem and self confidence.
What do we think of someone who always says yes to everything?
We tend to think they are a doormat we can use whenever we want to, or walk all over.
Saying no does not mean that you are rude or that you don’t care, unless you are rude and you don’t care.
Every time you say yes to something you’re saying no to something else
This doesn’t mean that you have to say no to everyone and everything from now on. But you do have to put yourself first. You can’t put yourself last on your list of priorities and expect to feel good about yourself.
Is this being selfish? Only if you are a selfish type of person.
If you want to boost your self confidence you must do things that make you feel good about yourself. If you say yes to people when in fact you mean no, how is that going to make you feel good about yourself?
Wonder why you might have low self esteem? Your self esteem reflects how much and how well you esteem yourself.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want your help if I knew you really don’t want to help me, or if I knew that for some reason you couldn’t help me.
Are you afraid that you don’t have a good enough reason to say no? You don’t need one. Sometimes you can say no, just because. It is allowed!
We find it hard to say no because we want to be nice, we’re afraid of being rude, we’re afraid of conflict, or of missing out on opportunities, and we just want to be liked. These are all valid reasons.
But many people say yes to things they don’t want to do because deep down, they don’t value themselves. They see others as more important. If you don’t respect yourself why should anyone respect you? You have to be courageous enough to stand up for yourself and what you believe in without worrying too much about what other people might think.
It’s Ok to Say No
We think that it’s not ok, that we’re being mean or rude, that the other person will feel bad, that they will be angry… while these stem from our good intentions, most of these fears are unfounded and imaginary. The truth is that if the person is worth it, they will understand. And if they doesn’t understand, then what does that say about them?
A lot of times we don’t say no because we don’t know how to. So, here are a few tips to help you say no.
Remember to always match your body language to your words and intention, otherwise people won’t take you seriously and will keep pushing until you give in. Be nice and assertive, and once you’ve made your decision don’t back down. By showing self respect you’ll command respect from others too.
The Simple NO
Sometimes, a simple no is best. There’s no need to over explain as it may not be relevant for the other person anyway, and it might lead to the other person trying to challenge your stance instead, when all you want to do is to say “no thanks” and get on with things.
The Respectful NO
Many people don’t say no because they feel it’s disrespectful, however it’s about how you say it rather than the word itself. Be respectful in your reply, value the other person’s stance and you’ll be fine. They will feel good, and you’ll feel good too.
The Alternative NO
Propose an alternative. If you don’t think you’re the right person for the request, then propose someone else who you think is a better fit. If you’re not free at a particular moment but you’d like to help, then propose an alternative date. So, you’re not saying no, you’re just saying not me, or not now.
The Scarce NO
On an average day I have tons of requests coming from Facebook, Twitter, Email… as well as calls and texts from clients and friends seeking advice.
While I consider it an honour that people trust me enough to open their hearts to me and ask me for advice, sometimes it’s just impossible for me to help everyone.
If too many people keep asking you for help to the point where it’s overwhelming you, make yourself less accessible. Don’t respond immediately to every single request, because it sends the message that you’re too available, which may not be true. Instead, learn to prioritise, and take longer to reply, be more concise with your replies, and limit your availability. This way others will value you and your time more.
The Written NO
If you’re at a loss on how to say no, write down what you’d really like to say to that person. Sometimes this helps uncover pent up frustrations. Most of the time, this helps clarify things. Once you’ve written it down review it and edit it to fit your final message.
Let Me Think It Over NO
When someone makes a request, it is ok to say you need to think it over. In thinking it over, remind yourself that the decision is entirely up to you.
The Delayed NO
If you’re not keen on the request, delaying your reply is a way of showing lack of interest. It’s not the first time I invite someone out and a week later I get a text message saying they only saw my invitation on that day and that they are so sorry they couldn’t make it! It’s a half polite way to delay your No.
Sometimes, no words at all is worth a thousand words. There is nothing I find more annoying than when I ring or email someone and I don’t get a reply. But as annoying as it can be, usually, no reply means no, so at least I know where I stand. This wouldn’t necessarily be my chosen form of rejection, but if it helps the other person deal with things better, then who am I to judge?
Ultimately, mastering the art of saying no comes with practice; just like with any other skill, the more you practice the more confident you feel. Whilst it may feel a little uncomfortable at the beginning, keep pushing yourself through those imaginary fears, and soon you’ll come to discover just how liberating and empowering it can be to say no now and again.
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