Learning How to Say No
It’s really not.
Unless we learn how to say NO sometimes, we place our value to others in what we do, rather than who we are. We end up feeling depleted, overwhelmed, resentful and taken advantage of.
Learning how to say NO to others and YES to ourselves is a life skill that ultimately garners us more respect from others, not less.
If you are stuck constantly saying YES to others, life coaching can help you learn the skills you need to be more assertive about your own needs and goals. This is important because unfortunately, you and I don’t have endless supplies of time and energy (I wish!!).
Are you someone who calls yourself a people-pleaser?
I know who you are because I used to be one myself. People-pleasers tend to believe that in order for others to like, admire or appreciate them; they need to be saying YES all the time. Challenge this belief and turn your life around!
Take a look at what makes saying NO so difficult for you. Does it depend on whom you are saying it to? Some have trouble saying NO to those that are close to them because they don’t want to disappoint; others don’t want to tell acquaintances (or strangers, for that matter) NO for fear of making a bad impression, only to regret it later on. Saying YES when we should be saying NO serves to throw off work life balance and strains relationships as well. The very thing you may be doing to promote a relationship may actually be sabotaging it. No more!
Are you saying YES because you’re avoiding the discomfort of following through on your NO or you’re anxious about having to defend your negative response?
With practice, you can learn to offer a firm response that will let others know that your NO is non-negotiable. You can learn to neutralize challenges. Others have pretty predictable ways of attempting to get us to acquiesce to their requests, things like guilt, manipulation, and flattery. Once we are aware of them and see them coming a mile away, they have less power over us and we don’t end up feeling used or unappreciated because we are able to stand our ground with grace.
There are specific strategies to delivering a positive “no.” It requires preparation, rehearsal and repetition. The first time around might not go as smoothly as you like, but you’ll have an opportunity to work through some of the feelings associated with letting go of that need to please everyone. The second time will be easier (I promise!).
Be clear in your response and be concise. No need to offer too much extensive reasoning. Keep any and all explanations simple. Most of all, say NO like you mean it. A positive NO is more than just saying “No!” It includes an acknowledgement of the request and speaks to the other’s need. It might include suggestions for others who might be able to do what was asked of you. You might offer a YES at another time, on your own terms, according to your own needs. You might say NO to the particular request but be willing to offer something else, something that works for you!
Here’s my favorite part: think about the kinds of things you want to be saying YES to in your life.
Setting limits and boundaries is important to our sense of power, control, autonomy, self-confidence and ultimate happiness. Each time your mind or your body tells you to say NO, think about what you really are saying YES to. Is it more time to concentrate on the things you want to be doing? Is it better health, more energy, a sense of well-being? Is it more opportunities to spend time with friends or family? Be aware of your YES list so that you stay true to it.
Setting boundaries is not about keeping others away; it’s about keeping what is important to you close. Regain your sense of power, be your authentic self, and say YES when doing so is the best choice for YOU.
Laurie Leinwand is a Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women and men, career life coach and work-life balance coach.
Laurie provides personal development assistance with regard to powerful issues such as how to make a change in your life and finding fulfillment and your life purpose. In addition, she works with clients interested in learning how to say no, setting limits and boundaries, as well as balancing work and life.
Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching is located in Randolph, NJ and services the surrounding communities of Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Florham Park and Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, though much of her coaching is done on the phone and is accessible to clients worldwide. Laurie is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the New Jersey Professional Coaches Association (NJPCA).
Is it Time for You to Make a Change?