To simplify your life you need to learn how to say no. To say yes to our priorities we need to know how to say no to something else. Saying no is hard because you know that saying no may hurt other people’s sentiments to some degree but saying yes is even worse; you hurt yourself. Thus we need to know why is it so hard to say know and how we can say no easily without hurting anyone, including ourselves.
It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.—Steve Jobs
The first time I said no with conviction
It was a rainy day; I had completed all my college assignments before the deadline. I was just enjoying evening sky on the garden swing, watching the rain and suddenly my friend, who isn’t even that close to me, called me and requested to help him in his assignments which he failed to do on time. To be honest, I had no desire of leaving that comfortable swing. I had two options. Either I could say yes and dissatisfy myself or I could choose to say no and maybe make a bad impression, but keep myself first. I chose the latter. And honestly, I enjoyed that day with my parents and tea, peacefully watching the rainy sky. Why should I put myself out every time at the cost of my peace and serenity?
It may sound rude to you now when you always comply to others favors and wishes but putting myself first was the best option and I don’t even feel guilty saying this. I prioritize myself and my peace of mind. Say ‘NO’ when you don’t want to help, say ‘NO’ when someone disturbs you in your personal space, and say ‘NO’ whenever you feel uncomfortable. When you find yourself thinking “no, no, no, no” and then blunt “YES” then all you have left later is less time and more regret.
You do not become a bad person when you say no
Saying “No” for your inner peace isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Is it your duty to be a saint all the time? Why do you always have to think about what others will think about you? Leave these concerns as they are not really necessary; the sooner you learn it, the better. Sometimes you have to go out of the way and say yes to someone in need but make sure that the other person can do the same thing for you if you need someone someday. Don’t be trampled by others just to be a saint all the time. Being a saint is not your work! Say No whenever you feel, you are not giving priority to yourself, in the beginning, you’ll find it a bit hard but believe me you’ll love this new you.
Know your worth, your value. Do not say yes to anything and everything. Listen, think, take a pause, make a plan, decide the pros and cons, take a pause again, and then speak. Say what makes you happy. Never let other people’s thoughts influence your decisions. You are who you are. You are valuable and you don’t need other people’s approval for knowing your worth so stop worrying.
Best ways on how to say no
After saying “yes” to something our usual response later is “I should have said no”. Unfortunately for us, we say the former louder than the latter. You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no. There are a couple of ways to say no without facing the dilemma each time.
1. Understand that every action we take is a choice
When you say yes to someone whom you wanted to say no to, then it means that you are saying no to yourself. It was your choice to keep yourself second and ignoring your own happiness. You could have chosen yourself first. You had the option and it was your choice.
Understand- It is always a matter of choices.
2. Always keep yourself first.
This is the first principle of embracing self-love and the first principle of learning how to say no. In an airplane you are asked to put your oxygen mask first before assisting others, this should be the number one rule in your life.
- Save yourself first.
- Think about yourself first.
- Respect yourself first.
- Keep your choices first.
Selfish says “always me” but a healthy person says “first me”. So don’t be scared of putting yourself first. It is not narcissistic and it is not selfish to say no for yourself.
3. Be polite and humble when you say no.
There are a lot of ways of saying the same thing. It is not about what you say but how you say it- that’s more important. If you care about your relationship and don’t want to make the other person feel rejected while you say no then focus on how you deliver. In order to do that be honest and humble and give your true reasoning to the person. If you value the relationship then it is worth explain honestly why you need to say ‘no’.
4. Instead of focusing on how to say no find the things you want to say yes to
When you wish to say no to something then it’s because you want to do something else that is worth more. Find the things that you want to yes to. Once you truly know what you wish to do then it won’t be difficult to say no.
5. Create an image
If you are always saying yes to everything, even for the things that you don’t want to do, then you create an image where people start taking you for granted. Build an image where people know that you are not a person who will say yes to just anything. Stand firm on your principles and do what is best for you always without fail. This way people will never ask you to do something which they know will be unacceptable to you. Do not make exceptions as one turns to two and two to always.
6. Ask for more time
Sometimes there are things that you want to do but just don’t have the time. At those times it is fine to say “Let me think about it and get back to you” instead of saying no immediately. This gives you a chance to review your schedule and your feelings for saying yes or doing a cost-benefit analysis. Then get back to the person if you want to say no or yes. This helps you to avoid being pressured and overburdening your schedule.
7. Give a smaller commitment
If you want to do something or get involved but don’t want to bigger task or don’t have enough time then it’s fine to say “I can’t do this, but I can…” and mention a lesser commitment that you can make. This will still make you partially involved but on your own terms this time.
8. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes.
You have to remember that it’s your life and you have to live it for yourself. Nobody is going to do as much for you as you are willing to do for yourself. This being said, you need to make sure that you live full for yourself and put your needs and comforts first, even it means to be a little selfish. Don’t put yourself out for others at the expense of your productivity and time.
9. Anchor the feelings when you first said no.
There must be a time when you said no with conviction. Remember that specific time and anchor those positive feelings and confidence. Feel the emotional conviction and use it when you say no. Imagine all the things that you would want to do if you could say no and anchor that feeling of euphoria to say no.
10. Ditch the feelings of “what will they think of me”
Often we succumb to peer pressure and don’t say no because of the fear of being judged and what others will think of us. I had said it earlier and still believe that- Your people who are important will not judge and the one’s that judge are not important. Don’t succumb to such types of negative peer pressure. Say no when you don’t want to. Learn the best ways to overcome peer pressure here.
Why is it so hard to say no?
Saying “NO” comes with aggressiveness, rejection, and letting someone down. When we want to say no we get triggered by the things we fear most, i.e., being judged and the fear of being bad-mouthed. Studies have shown that people are basically pleasers and it’s a basic instinct that we care a lot about what other people think. We want to appear good in front of others and be good in front of everyone. But however much you put yourself out this can’t happen, can it?
We sometimes aren’t able to say no just because we don’t want to jeopardize a relationship. We are scared if the other person would have the wrong impression and think bad about us. We seldom value other’s pain rather than our own pain and it’s not our fault, it’s how we all are. But in order to avoid being a foot mat and surviving in this world, we need to learn how to put ourselves first and say no.
A clear rejection is better than a long time regret. Don’t feel guilty for saying no to someone for keeping yourself first. The time has come when you start to get your own life in balance and tighten up. Every time you say no you are reclaiming your power. People will endlessly take advantage of you until you learn to say no. When you do learn to say no you might lose a few people in your life but they will be the people who were only there to stick up to you for advantages and not the real you.
Sometimes we overestimate the cost of saying no. So keep this in mind, the next someone asks you for a favor, say no if you don’t want to because it isn’t as bad as you think.
Give yourself the permission to say no to anything that makes you unhappy and drain your energy.
The more you do, the better you get it.