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It’s Okay to Say No

Photo credit: Nutlegal Photographer

Do you find it difficult to say no, even to unreasonable requests?

Do you feel guilty if you refuse a request?

You are not alone!

The first intuitive reaction of most of us to other people's requests and needs is "yes"! Without even thinking for a second and knowing that repeating to say yes to others' demands will create a mental default in us: it's hard to say no! So, you say yes! Without knowing that when you continuously say yes, you have taken power away from yourself and given it to others!

I can assure you that all of us at least a few times said yes to a request, and later we got so angry with ourselves that we said yes.

It is hard to say no, especially to your friends, family, and loved ones, but the truth is, if you continue doing that for a long time, it will become a must-do for you, not a favour. When you're constantly saying yes to others, you always say no to yourself. You put your needs on hold to fulfil others' needs. So first, ask yourself; Is it worth it? If the answer is yes and you have the time, energy, and effort to meet their needs, do it, but not to the point that it makes you frustrated, angry, depressed and unhappy.

Let me reassure you; It’s Okay to Say No.

It would help if you changed people's attitude toward your answer to their request, and the change should start with you. So, change yourself now; others will respect this new you! You must show them that you are in charge of yourself and your life. Many of us are unfamiliar with the skill of saying no in life and hesitate to refuse someone's request. Saying no is complex and creates an unpleasant feeling. But we can change ourselves; It’s Okay to Say No.

Saying no is one of the best self-care practices we can do. Learning this skill allows us to create a life on our terms. If we always live according to the will and approval of others, we will never be able to experience the feeling of true freedom and happiness.

There are many reasons to be afraid to say no, such as:

Being part of our culture: saying no is rude in some cultures. However, this is taboo; saying no doesn't mean we're rude, selfish, or unkind. Being aware of where these beliefs come from will help you get rid of them.

Avoiding conflict: Most of us want to avoid arguments whenever possible. Therefore, agreeing with others becomes our default response.

Fear of rejection: As social beings, we want to maintain our relationships with others; Therefore, sometimes, we say yes against our inner desire so as not to be rejected. After saying no, we may feel remorse and pangs of conscience. Is it worth it to be unhappy all the time for fear of rejection?

To be more lovable: We often respond positively to other people's requests to make them love us. We feel that saying no will jeopardise our relationship or friendship. But, if someone truly loves you, they respect your decision, even if they do not like it.

Afraid of being seen as selfish: We are so scared of being seen as selfish, but you should remember an important fact: it is impossible to please everyone all the time, and it is not your job to make everyone happy!

Sometimes we forget that this forcible request will have heavy psychological pressure on us! There are some significant advantages and benefits of saying no!

  • Saying no allows you to set boundaries in your life. If you always say yes, some people will abuse your kindness for their benefit.

  • It makes you accept that you cannot make everyone happy in life.

  • It makes you focus on the positive aspects of saying no.

  • It will increase your self-confidence. In the long run, the power of saying no builds self-confidence and allows you to take control of your life.

  • It allows you to make time for essential things and increases your ability to manage time. We only have a few hours in the day. We cannot extend this time, but we can control how it is used. Don't let others dictate your to-do list. You must use your time in such a way that you achieve your priorities and goals and fulfil your needs.

Now that we know the importance of saying no, the question is, how do we feel comfortable saying no and should we always say no?

Definitely not!

Initially, it would help to decide what is important to you; then say yes.

You need to learn not to be hard on yourself to please anyone. You must try to have a clear and transparent prioritisation for yourself for every moment and situation. It is important to identify which requests to decline and which to accept if those requests will not disrupt your life. You can refuse a request but still sound respectful, kind, and appreciative.

Instead of hastily saying yes, ask yourself the following questions first:

· Does saying yes prevent me from focusing on more important things?

· Is that person using me?

· What are my current values, beliefs and goals, and does this request, project, or activity align with my values, beliefs, and goals?

· Does saying yes make me happy?

Then you can decide for yourself to say YES or NO. No one can force you to do what you are unwilling to do. You are human and entitled to decide for yourself without any force.

Learning to say no to unreasonable and demanding requests needs change, and any modification in life requires time and practice.

So, start today!

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