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Getting to "No"

Do You Sometimes Find It A Challenge To Say NO?

NO. It’s an easy word to say. It’s our right to say no, our well being sometimes depends on our readiness to respond with no. It’s a boundary really: that line between where we end and others begin.

Why is such a simple word so difficult to pronounce at times?

How can we say no with more confidence and ease?

The Challenge

Some of what impedes our ability to say no with confidence and ease includes: values which were instilled in us when we were young, what we have been conditioned to believe, avoidance of guilt, and fears we hold. Many of us have been brought up to value helping others. While this mind set is a positive one, without limits, it can saddle us with unrealistic and unhelpful expectations of ourselves. Perhaps we learned that declining a request from others is selfish and so we don’t say no to avoid the consequence of guilt. Or we may be avoiding what we imagine will feel like conflict or a confrontation if we were to say no. We may fear rejection by others if we say no to them in order to say yes to ourselves. Or we may fear a lost opportunity. For example, if peers you’ve been hoping to spend time with invite you to join them, you may fear that if you say no, they may not ask you again.

These thoughts in our minds can hold us hostage to the wishes of others.

The Case for Saying No

Saying no reduces demands on you and stress in your life. It will also increase time for you to devote to your pursuits and personal goals.

You will likely feel better about yourself because you set limits on others and because you experience gratification from your own accomplishments, achieved because you allowed yourself the time.

Have you noticed that some of the most challenging accomplishments to achieve reap the most benefits?

For example; learning to ride a bike or drive a car, earning a degree, training for a marathon or to ascend a peak.

It will get easier to say no if you practice doing so even though you experience uncomfortable feelings. Over time, the feelings will be less powerful. Be patient with the process.

Others will see that you have boundaries and that you hold respect for yourself and your time.

Remember that you show people how to treat you by the way you treat yourself.

Building Confidence And Ease With Saying No

JOURNAL: Keep notes about your struggles to say No. Review your feelings and self-talk that interfered in being able to say no and consider how you could have changed that. This is a form of practice. Write about how it felt to say no when you have been able to do so, as well as, what made the difference with your successful efforts to say no.

MANTRA: Consider creating a mantra to say to yourself to support your efforts to say no. “It’s healthy to take care of me”, or “I’m showing people what I deserve”.

BUY SOME TIME: When you are gripped with the pressure to say yes and don’t want to, respond with: I’ll have to get back to you, or something similar. Give yourself the time you need to think things through and plan your response.

NO: Keep in mind, simply saying “no” is a complete answer. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or an excuse.

SELFISH: Saying no in order to say yes to you, is NOT selfish unless you’re taking your kids’ lunch money to get a manicure.

GUILT vs. RESENTMENT There is an emotional price to pay whether you say no or yes. Which is healthier for you in the long run?

FEELINGS: are just feelings and don’t have to command your actions. Don’t give them the privilege of making your choices for you.

I wish you well on your journey

“When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself”, Paulo Coelho

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