For some people, one tiny word can fill them with horror. Yes, saying no can seem like an impossible task, and there are many reasons why it’s so difficult. If you’re someone that dreads the word no, or you know someone that drives you crazy with their constant need to please others, then this post is for you.
Struggling to Say No
I’m one of those people that struggled to say no. If someone asked me out, I would say yes, even if I had no interest in that person. Then, I’d have to come up with an excuse as to why I couldn’t date them instead of just politely saying no. If I’d been able to master those two letters I’d have saved myself – and others- a lot of time.
Everything changed for me when I started freelancing. Clients would ask me to do double the work, for half the price, and I found myself always answering emails, texts and bending over backwards for clients. It got to the point where I couldn’t take anymore and began to say the word I’d dreaded so much.
The fact is if I hadn’t learned the art of saying no, I wouldn’t be able to sit here today writing this post. My life would be filled with low paid writing jobs and clients that didn’t quite understand the fact that I’m a human being, not their content marketing robot.
I struggled to say no because it made me uncomfortable, and I was fearful of upsetting others, but why do others have difficulties?
Fear of Causing Arguments
As social beings, we fear conflict because it can lead to isolation. A big part of our survival and happiness is fitting in at school, work, with our friends and even family members. Saying no can lead to conflicts which directly impact our emotional security.
For example, say someone at your office is going through a difficult time. That individual asks people to help her with her workload, and most people agree. You’re the only one with childcare duties and don’t have enough time to do someone else’s work – especially when there’s no financial rewards.
If you say no, then it could lead to some hostility from your teammates. So you say yes, take on the extra work and have little time for your children. You’ve avoided a potential argument, but you’ve made your life more complicated in the process.
Lack of Confidence
A lack of confidence is one of the most significant reasons people can’t say no. NBC says that 85% of people suffer from low self-esteem, but when it impacts your daily life, it’s a severe issue. When people suffer from a lack of confidence, they want to please others.
If you have low self-esteem, you probably doubt your abilities, go out of your way to make people happy and fear being unliked by others. When you have this mentality, it’s common for you to end up doing a lot for others and getting little in return.
Lack of confidence is a severe issue, but with the right support and motivation, you can overcome it. Once you build your self-esteem, you’ll become a happier, well-rounded and assertive individual.
This step-by-step guide from Reach Out can help you change your thinking and step out of your insecurities.
Personal Development Goals: Learn How to Say No
You’ve most likely got a lot of personal development goals, but learning how to say no should be top of your list. Do you want to develop in your career? You must be more assertive. Are you looking for a healthy, long-term relationship? Then saying no is an essential part of finding that.
Here’s how you can develop your confidence and take steps to say that elusive word.
Step One: Realise You’re a Good Person
Saying no doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. Most people want to help others, but sometimes it’s just not possible. You have to accept that saying no is a part of life and most will understand if you can’t help them.
Step Two: Know Your Worth
As I said earlier if I hadn’t learned to say no, I would be highly underpaid and working for clients that took advantage of me. It’s essential to know your worth and accept that some people have unrealistic expectations.
You can’t do everything, and if you feel that others are asking too much of you, then say no and move on with your life.
Step Three: Don’t Beat Yourself Up
The first time to say no, you might feel slightly uncomfortable and guilty, but over time you’ll get used to it and realise everyone does it. It’s less common for an individual to say yes all the time, so try not to focus on how saying no makes you feel, but how it improves your life instead.
Imagine being able to help the people you want and having the strength to say no to those requests that seem a bit too much. You can enjoy a happier, healthier life and grow in confidence every day.
If you’re getting ready to say no, these tips can help you:
- Be polite but direct. Don’t apologise if you have to say no.
- Don’t lie or make excuses. It opens a can of worms that takes forever to close!
- Never try to delay and tell someone you’ll think about it. If you want to say no, it’s better to get it over and done with.
- Please don’t beat yourself up over it!
The Bottom Line
Saying no isn’t easy, but with the right steps, you can learn to do it and not feel bad afterwards. If fears of rejection and conflict are holding you back, then it’s time to get some help and address your issues.
I find the following books very useful:
Damon Zahariades takes you step-by-step through the process of saying no and enables you to reclaim your time, energy and self-worth.
Patrick King’s master book teaches you how to say no and be assertive in every situation. This book is perfect for people that do everything they can to avoid conflict and can help you with your professional and personal life.
Nathaniel Branded is a leading authority in the field of self-esteem. His master book details practical ways to build your self-esteem.
Todd Eden’s book is all about inspiring you to regain confidence again. It takes time and dedication. Reading this book gives you vital life tools you can take everywhere.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to share your own experiences with saying no and join the This Mad World mailing list for crazy true stories, unsolved disappearances, self-help and development, and much more.