Saying no is a tall order for many people. They are conditioned to be frightened of the perceived consequence of irreparably damaging a relationship or hurting the other person’s feelings by saying no at the expense of their own comfort.
What many people don’t realize is that saying no can actually provide them with a sense of liberation, relief and boundless inner strength. That saying no to someone can breed empowerment and self-reckoning in ways that build a protective safety net around their feelings, boundaries and principles.
The act of saying no in itself is a catalyst to instilling self-confidence and trust within yourself, and in the eyes of other people, to respect your own needs, emotions and feelings.
The good news is, saying no is as easy as learning to ride a bike. With enough practice, you learn how to balance without overcompensating or feeling like you’re going to lose control of the situation and crash. Learning to say no to the people who need to hear it the most is one of the most empowering social skills one can possess.
The problem is, many people are having trouble discerning between certain instances and people in which saying no will benefit them the most.
When should I say no?
- When something encroaches on your feelings, comfort zone, dignity and self-respect
- When recognizing someone who sees your generosity, kindness and fortitude as something to exploit
- When it crosses over into an agreement in which the other person benefits greatly, while you are left feeling empty and cheated
- When it compromises your safety, well-being and level of trust in yourself and the other person to the point that you foresee turmoil
You have the right to say no
You must learn to recondition yourself to understand and accept the premise that you have total control over your own life and your own decisions. Most importantly, you don’t owe anybody anything and that your existence here on earth is not born out of pleasing other people.
Own your right to say no if for no other reason than to take claim and responsibility for your own life and your own circumstances. When you learn how to own your right to say no, no one else can come along and stake claim over what’s important to you.
You have every right to say no simply because you feel like it. And most of all, you have the right to do so without compunction, hesitation or ill-will towards yourself for choosing to do so. It’s your life and it’s your sole decision to take full control.
Instilling respect and boundaries
People aren’t going to know when to quit if you don’t tell them. And part of human evolvement in the aspect of “the survival of the fittest” grants people the genetic license to size each other up in weakness and in strength.
Saying no instills respect, not only in yourself but in the eyes of other people who see that you possess the strength to actually say it. They immediately think, “Wow, this person knows what’s good for them and they know what they want.” By saying no, you demonstrate what you find acceptable and suitable for your own tastes, and what you do not.
Say no just once and watch the magic unfold. People stop trying to take advantage of you. They know when to stop. They know you’re not going to bend and they know they can no longer rely on you as a go-to source to fit their agenda.
Preventing heartache and misunderstanding
Saying no stops heartache dead in its tracks. When you say no to people, there is an unmistakable line drawn in stone that you cannot be harmed, disadvantaged, denigrated or abused.
There won’t be any misunderstanding as to what you will tolerate and what you will not and when there is no room for guessing or testing the waters, people learn how to behave. They aren’t going too see how far they can push you when they understand from the very start that your feelings and emotions are not up for negotiation.
When people see that your values and convictions are drawn out in black and white, there is no gray area. There is no meshing of getting and giving the green light vs. red light, what’s good and bad and what’s acceptable and unacceptable.
You prevent any heartache and misunderstanding and save your own ass when you know how protect yourself from the start.
Weeding out toxic people
People aren’t going to keep trying to take advantage of you if they know they can’t. The only way to let them know that they can’t is to tell them no and often times, once is all it takes.
Will I lose “friendships”? Possibly. Will people not want me to be part of their “clique” or will they stop accepting me into their social circles? Most likely.
The question you should be asking yourself is:
How important to me is this person, friendship and perceived acceptance and what is it going to cost me?
If the person in question was upstanding and had your best interests at heart, they wouldn’t try to stretch boundaries, make you feel uncomfortable or run you down in cold blood.
Consider that for a moment and decide whether there is any mutual satisfaction having this person in your life and proceed accordingly- by saying no. If they value your relationship, they won’t try to hurt you again. If they don’t, they’ll walk out without apologizing, caring and without any conscience or consideration for your needs or feelings.
From this standpoint, it’s very easy to determine who should be in your life and who shouldn’t.
How do I learn to say no?
Just do it. Let the word fall from your lips like a twig onto the shoulders of a mighty stream. Then watch your self-worth and strength begin to soar.
Then practice, practice and practice some more.
Say no to that annoying co-worker who always wants to go to lunch at the Greek food place you find nauseating.
Say no to that broke mooch family member that sniffs around your door come every payday.
Say no to that cheap bitch that expects you to watch her kids for free every Saturday night because she doesn’t have the moral compass to recognize that she is a parasite.
Learn to stop caring what these people think when their primary motive is to make your life miserable. It’s a win-win, they aren’t taking advantage of you and you’re not allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. What have you got to lose?
Next post I’ll talk about hurting other people’s feelings and why it doesn’t matter.
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