Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Essential Art of Saying "No" and How You Can Get Better At It

To live a healthy life we need the ability to say both “yes” and “no”. A healthy life doesn’t say yes to everything it is asked and it doesn’t say “no” all of the time either. To feel truly satisfied and fulfilled in life, you have to be in charge of your yes’s and no’s.  In other words, the more often you are able to say “yes” to something simply because you want to, and feel it’s the best course of action for you, the happier you will be. The same goes for saying “no”.  If you don’t feel free to say “no” at times in your relationships, then those relationships are not healthy.

This seems simple enough, but life is rarely simply. The complication comes with the fact that the people in your life don’t like to hear the word “no”. Some may get angry, some may give you the silent treatment, others may cry (usually those under age 5), and they all want you to give in and change your answer. Saying “no” and then sticking to our boundaries is a critical skill to have at work, church, and home. Are you having trouble saying “no” and sticking to it? Here are some possible reasons why….

You Are Saying No, But Explaining….

Your job isn’t to convince people in your life that you correct and justified when you decide to say no, it’s to simply communicate, “no”. If you need people to understand and buy into your decisions all of the time, then you are in trouble! A lot of times people won’t understand (everyone has blind spots), and many times they just won’t care!  You don’t have to explain yourself every time you make a decision. It’s your life, your time, and your energy, and you get to spend it however you choose.  Also, if someone is wanting to manipulate you into doing what they want, they will love your long explanations, because it gives them the time and opportunitiy to wear you down to get you to give in. It’s not rude to just say “no” and go about your business.

You Are Saying No, But Apologizing For It….

It’s not bad to say “no”. You don’t have to feel guilty when you can’t or won't give what someone is asking of you. It’s ok to disagree with what others may be saying or asking, and go your own way. If you apologize every time you say “no”, people will begin to assume that you are wrong, and will press you even more forcefully. The only healthy time to apologize is when you have done something wrong! Throwing out apologies all of the time is dishonest. If you are like me, you will mess up plenty in life, save your apologies for those times when you have actually done or said something wrong!

You Are Not Saying No At All….

Every skilled manipulator is looking for someone to run over. Don’t be that person for them! Your opinion matters, and your personal boundaries matter.  Standing up for yourself sometimes and saying “no” reminds people that you are a person worthy of respect. You matter and your thoughts matter, so don’t just go along with everyone else all of the time!

Saying “no” isn’t easy, but it’s a crucial part of a healthy life. I hope you will find the courage to practice your “no”, and that in doing so, you will be reminded of your value in the relationships in your life!

Photo Courtesy of Death To The Stock Photo

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