No, is a complete sentence

Why didn’t I say no? So often find myself saying yes and then being frustrated soon after. When I knew I didn’t want to, why did I say yes? I can honestly say I’m a sucker for saying yes, no matter the reason. Here I am thinking “no, no, no, no,” and then all of a sudden, I hear myself say “yes.” I didn’t know why it was so challenging to answer authentically.

When I think back on the reasons, I said yes, it’s usually to please others and protect myself from rejection. I’m afraid of getting a negative response if I say no because I take on too much and ultimately struggle to get it done. It tires me out, and I am not my best self. So I started empowering myself to be true to how I feel and stick to my values. Here are some tips that I’m finding helpful.

Permission to say no

The first thing I found was that I had to address my feelings. And here is a fact I didn’t believe. Saying no does not make me a bad person. It doesn’t mean I care any less, unkind or even selfish. So, why did I feel that way? I learned this behaviour, so I needed to challenge the beliefs to let them go. For me, I was raised to be polite and respectful. If I was asked to do something or help, I was expected to do it. Now that I have enough experience and the added responsibility of being an adult, it’s time to trust myself.

Second, I had someone in my life who only valued what I did for them. Not me personally. This inevitability turned to me finding my value in their acceptance. The ironic part is no matter what I did; it was never enough. This was hard to let go of; some days, I find myself right there again by applying their way of accepting me to others. So it’s hard work, but it’s one of the best things I’ve done for myself.

Finding my value

The next was to admit to myself that I am valuable. To choose to stay true to how I feel was creating internal belief and supporting my health and happiness.

Here are a few things that help me remember my worth:

  • Telling my truth shoes integrity and strength
  • Mistakes do not change who I am or my value
  • The opinion of others does not change my value
  • How I treat others and I says more about me than what I’m capable of

The cost of the lie

When I so say yes anyway, there are so many costs. I feel bad about myself; I add stress to my life, lose sleep, and so much more. At this point, I have to choose, do it anyway, make up an excuse or lie, or tell the truth. Either way, this adds to my frustration and negative self-talk.

Here are some tips for saying No.

  • Be honest and direct. Please don’t leave it unclear.
  • Don’t suggest you’ll think about it if you know you don’t want to, while knowing this is an option if you do need time. If they can’t provide the time, it’s okay to say no.
  • Please, don’t apologize. It only diminishes your choice. 
  • Don’t make up excuses or lie; this leads to guilt.
  • Be nice; thank them for asking or offering.
  • Value your time
  • Practice makes perfect

The truth is empowering

I can choose! It is okay to be honest and not feel bad about it. I don’t have to share my reasons; if I’m polite and honest, I build relationships instead of putting frustration in the way.

Do you have best practices that have worked for you? Tell us more in the comments.


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