What happens when someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do?
Do you ever say “yes” when your mind and body are screaming “no?”
If so, read on because we’re about to fix that real quick. Here’s why “no” is a complete sentence, plus the top three reasons why you should say it more often (with #2 illustrated by a baby sloth).
Reason #1 Why You Should Say “No” More Often: People who you want in your life will respect and love you more for saying it. People who you don’t want in your life will leave.
Receiving a “no” from someone is great because then you have a clear, definitive answer and you can take, redirect, and refocus your energy in a different direction.
Did someone that you asked out say no? Awesome! Now you can spend your time and energy focusing on someone else who actually wants to spend time with you, who appreciates you and wants to make time for you.
Getting a long, drawn-out “maybe” is confusing. Confusion leads to chaos, and the lack of a clear answer wastes everyone’s time and energy.
Getting a fake or dishonest “yes” sucks, especially when someone commits to something and then flakes or ghosts.
The bottom line is, people will love, respect, and appreciate you more when you give them a clear and honest “no.” This demonstrates respect for their time (and your own).
When you say “no” to something, you are taking care of yourself by setting a boundary. You are refusing to do something that you can’t or simply don’t want to do. If a person in your life cares about you, they will support your decision to take care of yourself. If a person in your life doesn’t care about you, they’ll get mad about your no and try to negotiate you out of it or convince you otherwise. This is a great way to differentiate between who you should keep close in your life and who you should release from it. Anyone worth keeping in your life will respect and support your “no.” They may not always love it, but they will accept it and respect and love you regardless.
Reason #2 Why You Should Say “No” More Often: It is loving and teaches you that you are worth listening to, honoring, and protecting.
Saying “no” is a way of protecting yourself.
When you say “no,” you are taking care of yourself and teaching yourself and others that you are worthy of being cared for and respected.
A “no” protects your time, energy, and integrity.
Integrity is being congruent with what you think, feel, say, and do. If someone asks you to do something and your heart and head are saying “no, I don’t want to do that” but your mouth opens up and says, “yes, I’ll do that,” then you are acting out of integrity with yourself.
Every time you act out of integrity is a microaggression against yourself. You are sending yourself the message that you aren’t worth protecting, caring for, or honoring. The more you act out of integrity, the more you hurt yourself and begin to believe that message.
By saying “no” when you mean no, you are reclaiming your right to protect, respect, and cherish yourself: To choose what you want and to decide and to do what is best for you.
Reason #3 Why You Should Say “No” More Often: It’s a powerful complete sentence that doesn’t require explanation.
You never need to explain your “no.”
You never need to say “no, because…”
Trying to explain your no can actually take away from the power of it.
Which is a more powerful response to someone who asks you, “Want to go out with me on Sunday?” (Assuming you don’t.)
Response A: I’d like to, but I can’t because I promised my mother I’d take her shopping for goldfish that day. Sorry.
Response B: No.
Response “A” opens you up to follow-up questions. “How about next Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? What kind of goldfish? Maybe I can help?”
Response “B” is clear, firm, and final. The answer is no. There is no room for negotiation, and no explanation is necessary.
You don’t ever owe anyone a reason for saying “no.” You don’t need anyone else’s approval or agreement to take care of yourself. You never have to explain, justify, or give a reason for taking care of yourself and putting yourself first.
That being said, you might not feel entirely comfortable just saying “no” and leaving it at that. Here are alternatives you can use that also communicate a clear, firm “no:”
“No, thank you.”
“Thanks for asking, but I’m not interested.”
“I appreciate your offer, but I’m not available.”
You don’t have to be a dick about it. You can say “no” in a caring, compassionate, and respectful way.
As another alternative, you can also respond by saying, “Let me think about that and get back to you.”
Then take time to feel into it, and when you decide what feels best for you, respond with a clear and honest answer.
Practice, practice, practice!
Saying “no” is like lifting weights.
The more you practice doing it, the easier it gets and the stronger you’ll become.
If you’re not used to doing it, it might feel a little awkward at first. Once you start, it’ll feel better and get easier the more you do it.
Once your body realizes you’re finally listening to it, it’ll continue to speak up and guide you in ways that are right and true for you.
When you say “no” to something, you create space for something else. You allow yourself the possibility of choice. If you choose to say yes to something, do so from a place of love, inspiration, and care instead of bitterness, annoyance, and resentment. If you choose to say no, also do so from a place of love, inspiration, and care.
Our time and energy are the most precious resources we have. By saying “no,” we can choose to spend them more wisely, more consciously, and more lovingly towards ourselves and others.
The bottom line is this: Say “no” and say it often. Say it whenever your mind and body tell you that’s what you need, and don’t apologize for taking care of yourself by setting a clear boundary in this way.
Practice Now: Who or what will you say “no” to, today?
If you want to talk to a professional about your current situation in which you may have difficulty saying “no,” determining whether you even want to say “no,” practicing saying “no,” setting healthy boundaries for yourself, or anything else when it comes to dating, sex, love, or relationships, feel free to contact us here.