No. It’s one of the shortest words in the English language (and many other languages), but one of the most difficult things to say. When we were kids, we were taught not to be selfish. We were taught to give or share, or to say yes to any possible question, request or situation. Our parents would always remind us not to be greedy or put others before ourselves always. We were taught to please other people if the situation permits it. But as we grow up, it becomes hard to say no to other people.

Always Saying “Yes” is Not Good

We’ve all said “yes” even if we wanted to say “no”. It happens all the time, maybe even a few times a day. By saying “yes” when you really want to say “no”, you have committed yourself to something you don’t really believe or something you don’t want to do.

At work and at home, it may be easy to just say yes often and in some cases, you even forget what you’re saying yes to. Saying yes when you mean no will lead you into a trap you may never get out of. There’s nothing wrong with being a dependable person, but there should be limits to every request. You have to listen to your own feelings before you say yes to someone, otherwise people will end up stepping all over you.

Learning How To Say No

You have to learn how to say no without feeling bad about yourself or being guilty about it. Yes, it’s hard to say no sometimes but you have to be selective. When you always give to people, without receiving anything in return, it’s possible to feel in your heart and mind that you’re becoming second rate or are not good enough. You have to put importance on yourself and sometimes, being a little selfish can be a good thing, especially if you’ll benefit from it without hurting anyone. Sometimes it really does feels good to say yes, but it also feels good to say no.

1. Saying No Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Person

Saying no, refusing to do something or saying you don’t believe in what another person is saying doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. If someone has asked you to do something you’re not comfortable doing or if you feel that you’re just being cornered to say yes, you have to be firm and say no or sincerely refuse to do so. State your reason and explain your side. Help them understand why you are saying no.

For example, Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather learned to reason with honour and conviction. Although he said no to the business offer of Virgil “ The Turk” Sollozo (which resulted in his assassination), he stood his ground and never faltered. We’re not saying that you’ll have the same fate, but this shows that if you say no and explain why you said it, your message will be heard. When we were young we were taught not to say no, but as we grow up and become adults, we’re now capable of making our own choices and knowing the difference between right and wrong. No should not just be a word that you need to say, it should also be something you decided for yourself based on your own conviction.

2. Know Your Own Importance and Value

If you live your life based on other people’s approval or acceptance, you will never feel free and happy. To be free and happy, you need to know your value, your worth and importance. You have your own skills and intelligence and your problems do not define you as a person. Everybody makes mistakes and nobody is born perfect. Every person in their lifetime does something that they regret. Never let another person influence your decision to say no if you know it is right.

3. The Worth of Saying No

Before you say no, you have to decide if saying no is worth it. Doubts will set in once you have committed to something you don’t want to do. You will start to think about how to get out of it and if you don’t have any valid or good excuses, then you will have to choose to either tell the truth or come up with a lie. You will feel the anguish, the pain, resentment and stress you first felt when you said yes instead of saying what you really wanted to. It’s not pleasant and you will spend hours trying to figure out what to do. If you are unconvinced by something and you feel saying no is the best thing for you to do, do it.

Image credit: twitter.com

Image credit: twitter.com

4. Learn to Understand Your Situation

If you’re confronted with a situation where you have to say no or refuse, your approach or response will depend on the person and circumstance. For example, your decline or refusal will be different if you’re talking to your mom as compared to your boss at work. It depends on the situation, how you feel about the specific situation, who’s asking for your help or opinion and if your resources are available for the said request. It will also really help to understand how you feel about a situation ahead of time and who you would be willing to do the favour for so that you can give an honest answer when they ask you. Once you’ve figured out your situation and your feelings about it, it will be easier to go with your gut on specific decisions.

5. When One NO is Not Enough

Some people will continue to ask you even if you’ve already told them no. This behaviour is not acceptable and in some cases they can try to make you feel guilty. So you shouldn’t feel bad about saying no if it’s really the right thing to do. The person asking wants to know if you will change your mind because they feel desperate or they believe that you will lower your defences and will say yes eventually. To stop the person from doing so, let them understand that you realise what it is they want, but your no really does mean no.

Image credit: knowyourmeme.com

Image credit: knowyourmeme.com

Learning how to say no is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It will help you feel in control of yourself and stop people from thinking you’re a pushover. Continue to be a gracious person in your life, but remember if you don’t agree with something or don’t want to do something, you can answer honestly and be guilt-free. Make sure your no means no!

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.