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By CysterWigs Contributor
Do you find it difficult to say the word “no?” If you shook your head yes, you’re not alone. A lot of people, especially women, find it really hard to refuse obligations or people. And when they do say no, they might end up feeling miserable about it. Some of us might have been taught to be accommodating and always agreeable. And that’s okay–sometimes. But when saying “yes” all the time starts to take a toll on your physical, mental and emotional health, it might be time to reevaluate and learn how to use that two-letter word instead.
For some, the word “yes” is like a pre-set which slips out even when your heart wants to say no. If you often feel bad for saying no, don’t worry. There are many ways to reduce the guilt that might come with saying it. Here is how you can start saying “yes” to the people and things that you really want to invest your time and energy in.
1. Know your priorities
Understanding your priorities will keep your mind clear and will help you to make a firm decision. People are more inclined to say yes even if they want to say no because their priorities are not defined.
For example, if you set a priority of spending time with your family in the evening, it becomes easier to say no to work during that time, no matter what. But unless you set a priority, you are likely to get confused between agreeing and disagreeing. So whenever you find yourself in a dilemma, know your priority and it will be easier for you to make a decision.
2. Be courteous
Hectic work schedules, bad relationships and fearful situations can leave you feeling devastated. Under such stressful situations, you are likely to say no for yourself, but the way you say it can leave you feeling guilty.
Being courteous with your response can help ease the guilt. No matter how difficult the situation is, being courteous will give you a clear advantage. Not only will it help you stay calm, but it can also help diffuse things before they have a chance to get out of hand.
3. Evaluate boundaries
If you find it difficult to say no to friends, relatives and coworkers, setting a boundary often helps. Think about a specific relationship that is very draining to you and set a boundary for your time or level of emotional involvement. Once the boundary is crossed, you will know that it’s time to say no. If boundaries keep getting crossed, it will become fairly evident quickly that it’s time to walk away from that situation or that person altogether.
Toxic relationships often lead to stress and depression. It is important to get rid of people and situations that make you uncomfortable. Instead of agreeing to something that you don’t want to do and then facing the consequences, it is best to set a boundary and refuse after a certain point. Know that if you have a strong relationship, it will withstand your disagreement. In fact, it can generate more respect for you and help make your bonds even stronger.
4. Have a different proposal
Another way to get out of the awkwardness of a disagreement is to offer a different proposal. Understand that you are not offending someone and there is no need to feel guilty about something that you actually don’t want to do. But you can always offer an alternative if you feel up to it.
For instance, if someone wants to work with you on a project and you are not interested, you can recommend the person to someone who you think would be a better fit. If an old friend wants to meet at a noisy bar and that’s not your scene, you can offer them to meet at a nearby coffee shop instead. In both cases, offering an alternative often works by helping to make the situation more ideal for you instead of being at the mercy of others.
5. Give an explanation
Not that you owe anyone one, but sometimes, a no goes down easier with one. For example, if someone asks you to come over and help them with a garage sale all day Saturday at the last minute and you planned to get some rest and recharge that day, you can say “I will not be able to help you because I already have a prior commitment.” Don’t apologize or waver. It’s not your fault that they didn’t plan for the occasion. Just make it clear that you are unable to help.
This can work when it comes to our personal goals as well. Say you have a goal to not eat fast food during the week because you’re trying to save money and reach your health and wellness goals. You can have an explanation for yourself. So when you’re tempted to order out, think about those goals you set and say them out loud. Doing this can help you reach your objectives in no time.
6. Value your words
Whenever you face a situation where you know you’ll agree because it’ll be too hard to refuse, think about what it will cost you if you give in. Nothing in life is free. You’ll either be either spending your time, money or even sacrificing your health over something that you really don’t want to do.
Evaluate if it’s all really worth it and you’ll be able to make a firm decision. Some people are good at manipulating others in an effort to get what they want. Don’t allow someone like that to play you or drain you of your time and energy.
7. Be true
Being true to yourself will help you to refuse or reject something efficiently. Sometimes, we agree to something due to the fear that we will lose a friend or an opportunity. In the end, this leaves you feeling stressed or anxious. If you are in a relationship that brings pain and disappointment, it is important to get out of it, no matter how hard it is to say no. If you don’t like anything that someone is doing, simply tell them that it’s hurting you instead of putting up with their antics. After all, it’s your life and you are the only person responsible for your happiness.
If someone who you consider to be a friend or partner refuses to respect you or your boundaries, they should no longer be a priority or a part of your life. There’s no point in holding on to a relationship that only makes you feel terrible. Never feel guilty for saying no, especially to your loved ones. If they truly care about you and your well-being, they’ll definitely understand and respect your decision.
Tips to help you lock in that “no.”
It’s possible to say no and not feel guilty about it. If you still think this won’t come easy to you, here are some tips that might help make the process easier.
● Avoid apologizing for refusing anything, but be polite while saying no.
● Avoid telling a lie just to refuse something as it will lead to guilt and make you feel miserable.
● It is always better to directly disagree or refuse something than to ask for some time to think. It will make the situation worse for you by extending it for longer.
● Plan ahead of situations where you would want to refuse. Practice how you will say no to a certain situation. It could be difficult to decide at the moment, therefore, think of all the possible situation and prepare yourself.
● Value yourself over everything else as you don’t want to grow resentful. It better to stay away from a toxic person or situation than to suffer.
● Assist people by redirecting them to other people or resources for help. This is a good way to communicate that you are not their one and only option every single time.
Practicing to say no can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Once you learn how to do it, you will start feeling more in control of yourself and your life. So challenge yourself and pledge to stand up for yourself so you can feel happier and more free.