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Don’t Say Yes When You Really Mean No

Don't Say Yes When You Really Mean No

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings

Hmmm…half seems like a lot, but maybe it’s true!

A few blogs ago, we talked about setting boundaries – and in that blog, we touched upon saying, “No.” And quite a few of you reached out to me and stated that you still struggle with that little word.

And I get it.

It’s such a teeny, tiny little word – but it can be hard to say aloud.

Why Saying No Feels Hard For Many

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to say no – even though you really want to? The answer is: There are many reasons!

Saying no can leave you feeling:

  1. Guilty

  2. Anxious

  3. As if you’re being rude

  4. Like you might be rejected

  5. Embarrassed

And so many other negative emotions that you just say “Yes,” in order to avoid them. 

Yup…this is it. 

We say “yes” when we want to say “no,” – because we just don’t want to deal with the negative emotions it stirs up in us.

But Saying No Is Powerful

Like so many other words in the English language, when you learn to say “no” – you’ll find that it is very powerful. 

How so?

Well, that little word gives you:

  1. Control

  2. Ownership

  3. Freedom

  4. Stress relief

  5. Protection

  6. Prioritization

  7. Balance

And who doesn’t want these things?

Why You Should Say No

But most importantly – when you say no (after some practice) – the negative emotions attached to saying it disappear! Yes, DISAPPEAR! 

Because you’re doing what’s best for you! And it’s not a reflection on the person you’re saying no to – it’s about putting yourself first.

Of course, it’s a skill that needs to be practiced – and you’re not going to magically feel better the first few times you say it. (Trust me – when I first started using the word “no” regularly in my vocabulary – the feeling of guilt was still present. But the phrase “Practice makes perfect” is a good one to keep in mind if this is a skill you want to work on.)

How to Say No Without Guilt

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty – how to say no without guilt.

Here is my advice!

  1. Know Your Boundaries – I have an entire blog about “Setting Boundaries at Work,” – but it certainly applies to all aspects of your life. If you haven’t figured out what your boundaries are – personally and professionally – now’s the time to do so.

  2. Create a Plan – Yes, you want to have a plan! It may sound a little weird, but you can plan what you want to say, and you can plan how you’re going to say it. 

  3. Don’t Procrastinate Giving Your Response – It can be tempting to say, “Let me get back to you!” – when someone asks you for something – even though in your heart you want to say, “No.” But don’t do it! Procrastinating on your response can weaken your resolve. You can take a short time to think about it – but don’t let it hang over your head.

  4. Keep It Clear and Simple – There’s no need to give a million and one reasons as to why you’re saying no (in fact, you may not need to provide any reason at all). Keep your response clear and simple (without being rude or abrupt) and move on.

  5. Express Gratitude – Gratitude is a popular word nowadays, and you can even express it when saying, “No.” The simple addition of “Thank you for thinking of me, but…” goes a long way to making the whole process easier.

  6. Provide an Alternative If YOU Want – If you want to offer an alternative (such as date, time,  or level of participation) – then do so. But ONLY if YOU want to!

  7. Know That You Can’t Please Everyone – If you have people-pleasing tendencies, this one can be hard to swallow – but don’t let it deter you. 

Okay…who’s ready to start practicing the use of the word “no” more in order to bring back balance into your life – and release yourself of negative emotions? (All hands should be up in the air!)

Try it this week – and let me know how it goes! (You can leave a comment or message me via social media!)

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