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How You Can Say “No” When You Always Say “Yes”

When you think about telling someone “no”, does it come naturally to you? Or do you worry that in the eyes of others that you will come across as unkind or rude? Navigating saying “no” can be tricky, and it can be difficult to tell someone “no”, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary for us to say “no”, for our mental health, our physical health, or just to set boundaries for ourselves and others.

Growing up, we’re often taught that saying “no” to grownups or others was inappropriate or impolite, and that doing so would result in us getting in some sort of trouble. Unlearning our tendencies to say “yes” or “ok” to everything people ask of us can be a challenge, but one that is rewarding once accomplished. Now that we are grownups ourselves, saying “no” is something that shouldn’t be viewed as impolite or trigger feelings of anxiety or fear within. Instead, it should be something that we should be able to use at our own discretion, and include in our tool belt of skills that keep us happy and safe.

If you find yourself saying “yes” to every favor, task, or invitation, even when you don’t want to, and it’s draining your energy or happiness, unlearning this gut-reaction is imperative to a healthy life and future. Saying “no” to someone isn’t rude, unkind or selfish, and you shouldn’t feel humiliated or rejected by saying “no” to someone, no matter what you’re saying “no” to.

If this is something you struggle with, and you want to get better at saying “no”, below are some very useful tips that will help saying “no” much easier, especially if you find yourself saying “yes” when you want to say “no”.

  1. Be as direct as possible. That doesn’t mean you have to be rude, but a simple “no, I don’t want to do that,” or “no, I can’t” can go a long way! Don’t feel like you have to over explain or come up with excuses for why you’re saying “no” to someone or something, as your answer is more than enough explanation.

  1. Don’t apologize for saying “no”. When saying no about something, regardless of what it is, never, ever apologize after doing so. You shouldn’t feel bad about saying “no”, and apologizing sets up a standard for yourself that you should feel guilty or badly for choosing not to do something.

  1. Be honest with yourself. Always keep in mind that telling someone no right now is much better than feeling resentful about not doing so further on down the road. Being honest with yourself and others now will cause less frustration in the future.

  1. Be polite! When telling someone no, don’t forget to be polite as well. For instance, if someone invites you to an event, thank them for inviting you after telling them “no”.

  1. Practice saying the word “no”. This might sound silly, but practicing out loud will make it easier when it’s time to say it to someone. For example, if you know someone is going to ask you something that you would like to say “no” to, take a moment to imagine the situation and how you would like it to go. From there, practice saying the word “no” either on your own or with the help of a trusted friend or family member. By taking this step, you will be giving yourself more comfort and confidence with being able to say the word when the time comes.

  1. Don’t say you’ll “think about it”. If you know that your answer is going to be “no” regardless, don’t tell someone that you’ll think about it. Dragging out on admitting that you don’t want to do something will only cause stress for you. Be honest and upfront as soon as you can.

  1. Your self-worth isn’t dependent on the things that you do for others. This can be especially difficult to keep in mind if you’re used to being in a care-giver role. But you are worth way more than what you do, and your self-worth isn’t diminished by putting yourself first and saying “no” to things when necessary.

All in all, saying “no” can be one of the best things to learn how to do for yourself. Not only will it help you to overcome any fears of rejection that you may have, but it will also help you to feel more in control of your life as well.

Thank you for visiting CheerfulHearts by LauraBeth Ryan, a person who can help you learn how to say “no”. We hope that you’ve found this blog helpful in taking the first step towards saying “no” for your health! If you or someone you know needs a personal life coach, contact LauraBeth today.


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