How to Learn to Say ‘No’

how to learn to say no
Crédit d'image :
Publié le 5 décembre 2022, par Samir | 7 h 53 min
Temps de lecture : 4 minutes

Saying ‘yes’ to every request or opportunity can be harmful, especially when it stands in the way of us living in line with our values. So, how do we learn to say ‘no’ gracefully?

In Greg McKeown’s book « Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, » the idea of saying ‘no’ to increase valued living is put forward. McKeown suggested that we can learn to say ‘no’ gracefully to prioritize doing things that serve us. However, saying ‘no’ is often easier said than done.

How to Learn to Say ‘No’

So, we put forward some guideposts to help you learn to say ‘no’ gracefully.

Firstly, saying no to someone can be made more accessible by tapping into our values. Research shows that living according to our values benefits our health and well-being. Thus, saying yes to someone or something that commits you to something that feels wrong is doing yourself a disservice.

When we feel the tension between what we feel is right and what someone asks us to do, we experience value-incongruence. Navigating these moments by tuning in to our values will allow us to say ‘no’ more quickly.

Secondly, saying no to someone’s request can often feel like we are saying no to the person rather than the request. Learning to recognize that declining the request is not the same as declining the person enables us to do what’s suitable for us without fearing hurting someone’s feelings.

Thirdly, rather than focusing on what we will lose by saying no, consider what we will gain. We can reorient our attention to what we will gain by ‘missing out’ to make it easier to say no.

Fourthly, when someone asks us for something, they ask us to give them something. It is a cost. Recognizing what we give away by saying yes can help us say no.

Finally, communicate clearly. Vague attempts to soften the blow with non-committal language only lead to confusion and make our eventual ‘no’ that much more challenging.

Reasons Why Saying ‘No’ Might be Hard for You

Saying yes all the time to anything and everything that comes our way can be mentally (and physically) taxing and exhausting. One of the quickest paths to burnout is taking on more than you can comfortably manage.

Saying no can be difficult for so many reasons. Whether it be at a job or in any type of relationship, sometimes we feel like we have to say yes. Otherwise, the other person will think less of us, think we are not strong and capable, or just be disappointed.

As humans with primal survivalist tendencies, we do things that will keep us at the top of our game, well-liked, and well-respected.

If you stretch yourself thin in too many directions, you won’t be able to give your all to every single thing. That is why it’s essential to set our boundaries and limits. We have to attend to our jobs, relationships, etc.

Pushing past our own ‘no’ disrespects us as much as others. It also diminishes our ‘yes.’ Shame often builds up as we recognize that we have let ourselves down again. Listening with sensitivity and respect to our body gives us access to great wisdom.

Deepening a human connection with the younger part of you that doesn’t feel safe, setting a solid boundary, and healing is crucial toward healing what’s behind the default reaction.

Investigate what this part of you needs to feel safe enough to say ‘no’ assertively.

For many people, saying no is packed with guilt. Maybe you’re afraid to disappoint someone. Or you are a people pleaser and struggle with boundaries.

No matter the reason, learning how to say no is an essential skill for your mental health and well-being. Remember, we can not be everything to everyone, and our time and energy are precious resources that we should use wisely.

When is it an excellent time to set limits?

  • When you’re taking care of others more than yourself.
  • When someone asks you to share more about yourself than you feel comfortable disclosing.
  • When someone asks you to do something that goes against your values.
  • Simply when you don’t want to do something.
  • When you start feeling depleted because you’re giving so much.
  • When you’re doing all the work within the relationship.

Whether you say yes instead of no out of guilt, inner conflict, or a misguided notion that you can ‘do it all,’ learning to say no to more requests can be one of the biggest favors you can do to yourself and those you love. Many people hesitate to say no, even when they are over-stressed, over-booked, or too busy to take on anything else.

The inability to say no can result in emotional distress, stress, low self-worth, and eventual burnout.  Saying yes to things that make you feel stressed, disconcerted, or otherwise uncomfortable can take a massive toll on your mental health.

dim. 14 Rajab
الأحد 14 رجب

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