How to Say No – Part 1
The idea of saying no is such a hard topic for so many of us. Yet when you think about it, it’s something so incredibly simple.
Just two simple little letters.
One of the first words we learn to speak.
So how is it that we have such a hard time saying no. Perhaps it’s that we exhausted our capacity to say it during our terrible twos and wrote it right out of our vocabulary.
Or, perhaps as we grew older we came to understand how unconventional it was to say “no”. Or perhaps that saying “yes” was the answer to being liked, or making ourselves more appeasable to others.
Whatever the case maybe so many of us struggle with how to say “no”. We say “yes” when we really mean “no”, we make commitments that we later regret, we get ourselves into situations that cause us a lot of anger and resentment.
So how do we bring ourselves to start saying no? Especially in the situations where we are saying “yes” when we really mean “no”. Well for one let’s consider the fact that when “no” becomes a regular part of our vocabulary, when we do say “yes” we say it with so much more power and so much more passion. It’s hard to be enthusiastic and passionate when we say “yes” to everything. When we say “no” we begin to understand and recognize that our time is valuable and precious, we begin to respect our own worth. And when we respect our own worth, when we assign value to our time and our energy, others will as well. And we can only do that when we begin to say “no”.
For those of us who are incapable of simply waking up in the morning and saying “no” to the opportunities presented to us, or the tasks asked of us, where do we start?
I know that if you’re anything like me, saying “no” is not an instinct or reflect that comes naturally or that we can easily adopt overnight. It’s not second nature.
Start by taking a breath.
When something is asked of you, take a breath. Flood your brain with oxygen. Most of us go through our days tense, always holding our breath, to the point where the majority of our actions are based on pure impulse. We are losing the instinct to breathe.
So take a breath, maybe count to 5 before responding. Allow that immediate urge to say “yes” and please someone else to pass. Allow your thoughts and energy to shift and refocus on what is actually being asked of you and then respond.
Now this doesn’t mean you’ll always get it right, in fact it doesn’t mean you’ll get it right the majority of the time. In the beginning this may fail you and you may find yourself still staying “yes” to more things than you really want to.
But here’s the magic.
You are entitled to change your mind.
I’ll repeat that, you, yes you, are entitled to change your mind. You are allowed to recant a decision that you have made. So if you find that you’ve said “yes” to something when you really meant “no”, know that the majority of the time you can go back and change your mind.
We can say “no”, and practice grace at the same time. Click To Tweet
You can always go back and explain that you’ve given it further thought and that unfortunately this is not something you can commit your time or energy to.
We can explain ourselves, our thoughts and feelings. Not justify our reason for saying “no”, there is a significant difference between a justification and an explanation. We can justify our reasons for not wanting to do just about anything, but explaining our decisions, explaining ourselves, explaining our feelings is something much deeper.No one can argue you’re feelings, they’re your feelings. You are entitled to them. Click To Tweet Explaining yourself is an act of deep compassion, both to yourself, and towards others. Click To Tweet
So if you find that you’ve made a commitment to something you wish you hadn’t, if you find that you jumped the gun, or under pressure, or in the heat of the moment you said “yes” to something you wish you hadn’t, know that you can circle back with grace and explain yourself and recant that commitment.
Now some commitments we won’t be able to get out of without jeopardizing or damaging our integrity. In some cases we’ll need to bite the bullet and do what we committed too, to avoid consequences or repercussions. And those are the moments that teach us, and cause us to pause just a little bit longer next time before saying “yes”. Those are the moments that teach us.
As you approach these decisions you’ll need to be able to discern the difference between what your heart and intuition is telling you, and what your ego is telling you. Our ego’s tell us “no” all the time, it causes us to miss opportunities and moments for connection. So if your motivation for saying “no” is coming from a place of fear, or entitlement, take a minute to ask who’s speaking. Is it your heart, or is it your ego?
Now, in Part 2 of this series I’ll talk more about the reason we say “yes” to way too much. But in the meantime, let me know in the comments below, when do you struggle to say “no”? Is it in specific situations, with specific people, in certain environments? Or do you just commit yourself to too much on a regular basis?
As always, if this was of service to you, be sure to share it with your friends.
Sending you love.
Stay strong warriors,