“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” ~Josh Billings
I am sure I am not alone in thinking of times in the past when to my detriment I have said ‘yes’ knowing full well that ‘no’ was the right answer for me! But why do so many of us find it difficult to say that formidable word?
Well, guilt has got to be high up on the list of why we don’t say no often enough. Just one of the many books on this subject is ‘When I say no, I feel guilty’ by Manuel J Smith; it was a number one best seller and perhaps substantiates that this simple little word is a major challenge in our society.
It may be that you are a naturally accommodating person and would not wish to be seen as being unhelpful. Perhaps you want to avoid the possibility of confrontation and are concerned that saying no will very likely lead to negative consequences. Is it really so harsh saying no, or are we actually making too many unfounded assumptions about what the outcome may be?
When you’re being asked to do something that you’re really not sure about then one of the best things to say is ‘let me think about this and I will get back to you’. This allows you some valuable thinking time and means that you are not rejecting the request outright.
In the 80s and 90s there was a “Just Say No” advertising campaign; it was set up to discourage children from engaging in illegal recreational drug use. This campaign offered various ways of saying ‘no’ referring to these methods as refusal skills!
Respecting and valuing yourself and your needs as being of equal importance to everyone else’s is not about you having power over others; it is about your legitimate right to say no.
I am optimistic that if you assert your right to say ‘no’ by developing some ‘refusal skills’ that you will find it a liberating experience!