Learning to say no is one of the most difficult yet most important aspects of loving yourself.
We’re told from being young that it’s so important to say yes to things. That when an opportunity is presented we must say yes because otherwise we will regret it.
It’s easier to say yes. It’s more appealing to agree to doing something, rather than offending someone by saying no. But if you say yes to everything, it’s likely that you’ll end up without any time for yourself. This can be disadvantageous for 2 reasons.
- You have no time for yourself so you become frazzled over everything that needs doing and have no rest time for self care.
- Continually making yourself busy means that you don’t have time to address any issues going. Are you saying yes to everything so that you don’t have to be alone?
So how can you make it easier on yourself when you say no?
Say It Right Away
If you already have too many commitments and you know you won’t be able to make room for something else, then say no right away. Don’t say maybe. Don’t say you’ll think about it. If you can say with certainty that you can’t fit that extra commitment in then say it now, because you’re just extending the inevitable if you keep someone waiting. You’ll feel worse and you’ll have given them false hope and no one’s happy. Obviously, if you actually want time to think about it, then that’s totally okay!
Compromise Is Cool
If saying no is too final for you then think about ways you can compromise. Compromising means that you aren’t saying you’ll do something that you don’t want to and it means that the other person partially gets what they want to.
I hate going out but my friends really enjoy it. So even though I rarely go out drinking with them on a weekend, I will always say yes to special occasions like birthdays. This way, everyone is happy.
This is the one I trip up on usually. I often say no without really saying no. I make excuses but the excuses are often lies. I’ll say “Sorry I can’t come to that. I’ve got something on in the morning so I need to be in bed early.” Or, “I’d love to come but I’m getting a bit of a headache so I won’t be able to make it.” The truth is that I’d love to be in bed early because I just like going to bed early. I don’t NEED it though. And chances are I do have a headache. But if having a headache stopped me I’d never do anything because I get them more often than I don’t get them!
So try and be honest. Now I try to say “Going out isn’t really my thing,” or “I’d love to but I just don’t have time to fit that in.” I feel better about being honest and the person I’m talking to knows that I’m not just flaking on them.
Saying no is hard and it’s a habit that takes time to develop. But these 3 tips have helped me feel more confident about saying no with conviction so that I have more time for me and more time for the things I do care about, without feeling guilty and without hurting anyone’s feelings.
How do you deal with saying no? Are you a people pleaser? Let me know in the comments!