It’s so hard to say “no”.
It makes us feel selfish, guilty, embarrassed even. We don’t want to upset people. We don’t want them to think badly of us. Sometimes it’s simply easier to say “yes,” than to deal with our angst or other people’s reactions. But what is this behavior costing us?
When we give a “yes” when there ought to be a “no”, we give away a little piece of ourselves. We relinquish our power, our control and disrespect our needs by making them less important than the needs of others. We disrespect our needs or wants by making choices that don’t support us. We justify it; it’s just this one time, it’s for a good cause, it won’t take too long, it’s not that big a deal. It is a big deal. Every time you do this, you are making a choice to ignore what your heart, your mind, or your gut is telling you.
The Benefits of “Say No”
- The Stress Factor. Saying “yes” when you really want to say “no” is a major stressor for your mind and body. It causes anxiety, tension, aches and pains, often causes us to lose sleep as well. It’s unquestionably not the lone cause of stress, but it might be among the easiest to control.
- Get Rid of Toxic People. You don’t really want these people in your life anyway, do you? These are advantage takers, the leechers, the complainers, the gossip-mongers, the responsibility-duckers. They are master manipulators who use guilt and manipulation to pressure you into a “yes.” If you consistently give a firm “no” they’ll eventually go away and find some other, weaker target.
- Save Time. We only have so many hours in the day. We can’t do anything about that, but we can control how we use that time. Don’t let others determine your to-do list or set your set agenda. You are giving away your precious time! It’s important to use your time in the way that honors your priorities, helps you reach your goals and serves your needs. You decide what’s worth your time and what’s not.
- More Energy. Taking on things that you don’t want to do or don’t have time for, wastesvaluable energy that you could be spending on those things you do care about. Pour that energy into doing a better job on those activities that you really must do or choose to do. More energy helps you feel better, be happier, and have greater productivity.
- Increase Focus. Say “yes” to people and things that are relevant to your goals. Say “no” to those things take you away from your goals and make you lose your focus. Focus on those things that help you learn and grow both personally and professionally, things that spark your interests or speak to you in some way. Whenever it’s possible, say “no” to everything else.
- Gain Strength. Every time you say “no” to others, you’re saying “yes” to yourself. You’re taking back control of your life by not allowing others to make decisions for you. You gain confidence when you stand firm and honor your boundaries. Surprisingly you also gain the respect. When you’re clear and firm about you will and won’t do, people actually respect you more. They may be unhappy with you, but they’ll respect you.
- Enjoy Life More. Life is so much more enjoyable when you begin to say “No” to things that drain you. The same is true in your work life. If you make an effort to try to limit your time and effort to work activities that enjoy or that you actually are responsible for, you’ll find that work is much more fun.
It gets easier to give the “no,” the more often you do. It’ll probably be uncomfortable for a while. We squirm at the thought of disappointing others, even when we’re letting ourselves down in the process. Your needs, your time, your goals, and what’s important in your life have to be your decision-making guides. It just takes some getting used to.