How many times have you found yourself saying yes to someone or something when you’re really thinking no? You then waste time and energy thinking of ways to get out of what you’ve agreed to, causing huge amounts of stress or anxiety.
Many of us struggle to say no, fearing anger, possibly upsetting someone or just the uncertainty of what their response will be. These feelings can stem from our childhood where saying no to someone was considered rude and not really an option. By holding onto these childhood beliefs we continue to associate saying no with being unkind or selfish and it can often make you feel guilty.
By constantly saying yes to others, half the time we don’t even know what we want or what our personal needs actually are. Saying no to the things you don’t want to do allows you to say yes to the stuff that is important to you. It makes sure your level of “busy” is purely down to doing the things you want to do.
Think about how many times you’ve met someone for a coffee when you could have said no to them. In fact how many coffees have you had with people you don’t even want to spend time with? How many meetings have you sat in that you have no part in at all?
If you find that you’re so busy with other people’s demands or requests then it’s really time for you to make a change in your life. Saying no takes courage and self confidence and it may be something you have to work at. Remember, saying no doesn’t mean you’re a bad person!
1. Don’t waffle. If you know you don’t want to do something, take a deep breath and be direct. Say “no, I can’t” or “no, I don’t want to.” Don’t say “I will think about it” when you know you don’t want to do it. It will drag out the situation and make you feel more anxious and stressed.
2. Buy some time. If you’re put on the spot and asked to do something that you aren’t sure about, try to buy some time to think about it. Ask the person to send you an email or a text so you can get back to them. This allows you to decide if you actually want to do what they are asking or think about how you will say no to their request.
3. Don’t apologise or give lots of excuses. If you don’t want to do something you shouldn’t have to apologise or justify why. It should be your choice and those who genuinely value you will not have an issue with it.
4. Don’t lie. You’ll get yourself tied up in knots and may find you trip yourself up! Lying will likely lead to feelings of guilt and this is what you’re trying to avoid by saying no in the first place.
5. Always be polite. Perhaps say “thanks for asking.” This will make sure you don’t come across as rude and perhaps avoid an angry response to you saying no.
Take control of your choices and your life. Challenge yourself and learn to say no! Imagine the free time you will have to do what YOU want to do. Give it a go!
Make the Change. Not tomorrow. Not next week, but NOW.