The ability to say “no” without guilt is important for personal success and good mental health. Have you ever been in a situation where you do not want to do something, but you feel like you have to give some form of explanation for it? Have you ever been in a situation where you try to seem like a good person so you say “yes” out of pity, fear or the desire not to offend the other person?
Maybe you have been in similar situations severally, sometimes accepting to do something you didn’t want to do. It’s not wrong to do something different than what you usually do to please significant people. It can be a display of respect and love. However, when you are frequently unable to say “no” to people when you want to say “no”, then, there is a problem.
Note that this article uses the phrase saying “no” figuratively. Hence, the meaning is beyond the actual act of saying “no” aloud. Saying “no” means deciding not to do something and maintaining that choice amid the pressure to revert to yes. It takes a lot of self-discipline to say “no.
The pressure to fit in, or look cool or being afraid of displeasing people can lower your ability to hold on to your personal standards. Let today be the day you stop saying “yes” to everything and start saying “no” without guilt.
Why You Need to Stop Saying Yes When You Want to Say No
Being unable to say “no” is a type of people-pleasing behaviour. And, it’s impossible to please everyone. These are the disadvantages of saying “yes” to everyone or everything:
- People will exploit you. When you lack the ability to deny all requests, you will be highly exploited. You will start carrying burdens that are not your responsibility. And you will be overwhelmed with life because people will easily take advantage of you.
- You lose your ability to choose. If you can’t fulfil a request, don’t overwhelm yourself with it. You have the freedom to deny meeting your friend’s invitation to attend a party or to lend them money if you want to. You will lose your freedom of mind and a lot of your time and resources trying to meet every demand.
- You will lose your true self. You’ll live for others more than you live for yourself and saying yes to everything is a sure way of losing direction in your personal life. You might appear mean, insensitive or negative when you refuse to meet people’s demands or requests. However, giving in all the time can make you emotionally, financially and physically stressed. Practise saying “no” in situations which saying “yes” can hurt you.
Saying No to Yourself
Struggling with a bad habit requires your firm “No.” You can’t kick bad habits if you keep going back to them. Your first saying-no practice begins with yourself. When you set goals to achieve a desired result and distractions come your way, what will you do? Will you allow distractions to divert your focus from the most important things you need to do? What happens if you put your goals aside and waste your time with the distractions?
For example, you decide to cut down your screen time so you can concentrate on reading a book. Your friend calls you with an offer to go watch your favourite game, and he has a free ticket! So, what will you do? The choice is yours -yes or no? Once you begin a habit of saying “yes” to everything, it’s hard to stop.
Saying No to Others
Kindness is a great trait and most of the time it gives you a good standing with people. However, with the inability to say “no,” people will take advantage of your kindness. If it’s not a matter of life and death, and if it has the potential to harm you, consider saying “no” and sticking to your decision.
When you set boundaries for yourself, don’t allow your decisions to waver. By standing for these boundaries, you will show those around you that you are assertive. Some people seem to be experts in spotting people who are always helpful and they might overwhelm you with never-ending demands.
Now, be careful to whom and what you say yes to. You’ll be amazed at how relieved you become by acknowledging your boundaries and not giving in to everything. Saying “no” is one of the best ways to reduce stress in life. You can prevent getting into messes in your life if you practise saying “no.”
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.