Is it nearly impossible for you to say “no” to a person without feeling guilty, no matter how unreasonable the request may be? If you can almost never say “no” to a person — whether it’s your boss or significant other — without feeling terrible afterwards, then you have a hard time prioritizing your needs over the needs of others. You should say “yes” when you feel that the task is manageable, when it’s within your responsibility to do it, or even when you owe a favor to a friend. But if you’re always saying “yes” because you’re afraid of saying “no,” then it’s time to take action and take your life into your own hands without feeling guilty. If you want to know how, just follow these 6 steps.
Acknowledge that you can’t do everything. Your problem with saying “yes” to everyone may have already left you trapped with almost no time to yourself. You may have said “yes” to helping your friend run her bake sale, “yes” to helping your boss manage a new project and “yes” to helping your significant other paint his apartment. You can avoid this situation in the future by beginning to say “no.”
Whether you can’t do everything because you’ve said “yes” to so many people, or because of all of the commitments of your busy life, tell yourself that it’s impossible for you to say “yes” when you don’t feel right about it.
Tell yourself that you’re not being selfish. One of the big reasons that people can’t say no without feeling guilty is because they feel that they’re being selfish for turning down people who need their help, therefore making more time for themselves. But if you’re selfish, then you’re always looking out for yourself only and would never feel guilty about saying “no” to someone.
Tell yourself that you’re not being selfish, and that if that person thinks you’re selfish for not doing something unreasonable, then that’s not a person you should want to associate with.
Think of all of the times that you have said “yes” to people in the past — what’s selfish about that?
Know that you can’t please everyone. Acknowledge that it’s impossible to please every person in your life and that you have to draw the line somewhere. You may feel that you will disappoint a person if you say “no,” and will thus lose his respect, but you may find that the opposite is true. If someone thinks you’ll say “yes” to everything, then he will actually be more likely to take advantage of you and to ask you to do too many favors.
You can please the people you really care about some of the time, but it’s not possible to please every person every time — and maintain your sanity.
Think of all of the things you’re saying “yes” to when you say “no.” You don’t have to look at saying “no” as a negative thing. If you’re saying “no” to doing more work, you’re saying “yes” to a variety of things that will benefit your life. If you think of all of the things that will be better off from you saying “no,” you will feel less guilty. Here are a few of them:
You’re saying “yes” to spending more quality time with your friends, loved ones, and family instead of doing something you don’t want to do.
You’re saying “yes” to maintaining your sanity, to having some “me time,” and for making time for the hobbies and interests that matter to you.
You’re saying “yes” to living a more relaxed, evenly-paced life that is centered around the things that having meaning for you, not for someone else.
You’re saying “yes” to having a reasonable workload instead of burying yourself in hours of extra work because you couldn’t turn someone down.
Understand why you have a hard time saying no. Is it because you don’t want the person to stop talking to you? Is it because you don’t want it to look like you don’t care about the person? Being aware of what makes it so hard for you to turn a person down can make it easier for you to be more rational about the situation.
If you’re afraid to ever say no because you’re worried that the person will stop caring about you, then you are in a problematic relationship and should try to get out immediately.
Understand the different tactics people use to get you to say “yes.” If you can recognize the different methods that people may use to manipulate you and get you to say “yes” when you want to say “no,” then it’ll be easier for you to say “no” because you’ll know that the person is just trying to control you in some way. Here are some tactics to look out for:
Bullying: The bully keeps insisting that you do the thing he wants you to do, and is even mean or aggressive in the process. You can turn the bully down by keeping your cool and not reacting to his aggressive tone.
Whining: The whiner can keep complaining about how hard something is until you break down and agree to help without even being asked. Instead, either change the subject, avoid contact with that person for a little while, or just say that you’re sorry that the person is having such a hard time without agreeing to help.
Guilting: Some people will try to make you feel guilty by telling you that you never help or that you never come through in a pinch. Calmly remind the person of the times that you have helped, and deny the request. This time will be different.
Complimenting: The complimenter may start by telling you how amazing you are at something, or how smart you are, and then will ask you for help with a certain task. Don’t fall prey to flattery and agree to do something just because you’re being praised. This is commonly called a ‘Feedback sandwich’.
With Love Jim Villamor