Why You Need to Learn to Say “No”

Many people may think they aren’t very good at saying “no.” But when you say “yes” to something you are actually saying “no” to other things because there are a finite number of hours in the day. Think about that! We can’t do it all.

Saying “no” gets us into trouble when we begin to disappoint one person in order to do for another. We wind up having no time for ourselves. And sometimes, we end up doing more for others and leave ourselves and family last on the list.

We can’t possibly be all things to all people. And if it looks like someone you know is successfully being all things to all people, they are probably experiencing major meltdowns on a regular basis.

Not Saying No Affects Our Relationships

When we say “yes” and we really mean “no,” it can also negatively affect our relationships, make us appear unreliable, and leave people questioning our integrity.

Here’s how to begin to say “no” and carefully choose the activities and commitments you agree to take on. These are a few of my favorites:

  • Thanks for thinking of me. Let me get back to you on that.
  • I’d really like to help you, but I’m afraid I don’t have any room in my schedule.
  • Thank you for asking, but I don’t think I’m the right person to handle that for you.
  • I’m focusing my attention of other projects currently.

How to Say No

To become conscious of how many times you say “yes” when in reality, you wanted or needed to say “no,” take this challenge: For one week, write down all of the times you say “yes” to a person or activity. This would include committing to a spontaneous activity or an activity two weeks from now. At the end of a week, review the list and see how many of those commitments you really want to be doing—be honest!

If more than 50% of the activities on the list are things that you wish you had said “no” to, it’s time to re-evaluate and start to use the key phrases listed above. It’s always better to say “no” first and then give it some thought or check in with family members first. Then, once you’ve considered how that commitment will fit into your schedule, say “yes.”

He who overcomes others has force; he who overcomes himself is strong. —Lao tzu, Chinese philosopher

How are you at saying “no” and setting boundaries? Would love to hear your experience in the comments below.

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