“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.”
― Richie Norton
Do you feel like you’ve lost control of your life? Are you spending too much time doing activities and on responsibilities of other people but you don’t particularly enjoy? If you are, there’s a good chance that struggling to say “no” is a problem for you and learning how to day it more often would bring some much needed relief. Most of us feel uncomfortable saying “no”. Why? Well, I think it has to do with the fact that we fear rejection so we try to avoid it at all cost. We’d avoid disappointing people because my ego is telling me who I am is what others think of me, so I need to keep their opinion of me in tact. Consequently, we don’t say “no” but “yes” even when we really can’t afford to say “yes.” The irony is, no other word can provide more freedom like saying “no.” In this post I want to encourage you to give yourself the gift of saying “no” more often.
Use the word “no” more often:
- You’ll have more free time. Are you lacking the free time necessary to pursue your hobbies and interests? Is it possible that you’d have more free time if you had declined a few requests? You’re more able to help others if you also give yourself priority. There’s nothing left to give if you don’t allow yourself to unwind or focus on the thing that energise you.
- Decide how much free time you need each week and stick to that schedule.
- Saying “no” gives you more control over your life. When you say “yes” too much, you’re allowing others to dictate your schedule for you.
- Happiness is elusive when you don’t believe you have control over your life. Do what you can to help others, but never give up control over your life.
- You have a better chance of achieving your goals. When you say “yes,” you’re helping others reach their goals. Give yourself the same consideration. Your goals are important, too. Ensure you have enough time to address your own dreams.
- You can’t achieve a big goal without giving it consistent attention. How much time do you require to work toward your goals?
- You’re able to set boundaries. Relationships with friends, family, coworkers, neighbours, and romantic partners all require boundaries. Otherwise, your neighbours would be borrowing your car every day, and your lover might be spending the weekend with someone else! Avoid being afraid to say “no” when the situation calls for it.
- There are certain limits on each person in your life. You can choose and enforce those limits with one simple word.
- Saying “no” keeps your values intact. Sometimes we’re asked to do things that sacrifice our values. Your friend might ask you to lie to his wife so he can meet his mistress. Your boss might ask you to fudge the numbers in order to make him look better.
- When you’re asked to do something that conflicts with your values, you can protect your integrity by saying, “no”.
- Other people won’t be able to take advantage of you. If you haven’t been taken advantage of, you haven’t been paying attention. Whether it’s loaning $5 for gas or watching your neighbour’s pet for the weekend, we’ve all be hung out to dry at least a few times. You can refuse to take part in any activities that might lead to a loss.
- You don’t have to let others take advantage of your kindness. It’s not admirable. It’s self-destructive. Have respect for yourself and expect respect from others, too.
- You realise that people aren’t as sensitive to rejection as you think. People that struggle to say the word “no” believe that the other person will be upset or hold it against them. You’ll likely find that the other person will understand your refusal or find another kind hearted victim. So stop worrying about it.
I’m obviously not suggesting you become a immovable, thick-skinned person with no compassion at all. We can’t say “no” to every request and we shouldn’t. I believe we should help out where we can and play our part in making the world a better place. After all, we’d like other people to do things for us occasionally and we also truly need people’s help at times. But saying “yes” to everything creates stress and eliminates our free time. This isn’t acceptable. Value your time and energy. Think of it like this – You’ll have more to give if you take care of yourself.
PS. Please leave your comments and questions below and I will respond to them personally.