Many people, especially girls, were taught that “no” is a bad word. Some even have trouble shaping their mouth in such a way to let the sounds of “n” and “o” pass through their lips. The aversion to the word “no” causes many people to agree to do things they don’t have time for, or get pressured into things they don’t want to do.
Some people would rather say “yes” because they think it makes them more likeable and will avert possible conflict. The problem is that saying “yes” to everything can impact your own health or the well-being of your family. It is important to note that a child who does not know how to say “no” is at risk of falling victim to peer pressure.
For children to become comfortable with asserting themselves they must have a role model who sets good boundaries and doesn’t get walked all over. If “no” feels like a dirty word to you, here are a few points that might help you to become a better “no sayer”:
Remember that saying “no” is not selfish or mean. It allows you to spend more focused quality time on the priorities in your life and often keeps us safe. Why spread yourself thin doing things that mean little to you, for people who mean little to you?
Just because you said “yes” once doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. If you try something, like organizing your child’s school play, you don’t need to get roped into doing it every year. You have other goals and interests that you can lend your talents to, so saying “no” is actually saying “yes” to other things.
Stand up for your rights. You don’t have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Unscrupulous people will push you until you reach your breaking point, and they don’t really care, because they’ll just find someone else that they can push once you break down. They don’t care about you, why care what they think?
Say “no” without feeling guilty. If you say “no”, but then spend the next two days fretting with guilt, it defeats the point. Saying “I’m sorry, but no,“ is all you ever need to say. No long excuses or justifications are necessary. If the person is being respectful, they will accept your “no”.
If you are a beginner “no sayer“, you may want to start off slowly.
If someone is pushy, say: “My initial reaction is that I don’t feel comfortable doing that, but let me think about it and get back to you.” Then, get back to them and say “no”.
If someone is giving you a guilt trip, say: “Yes, I’ll help you, but you owe me one.” Then ask them to cover your shift or help you move.
If someone asks you to do something that you actually want to do, or must do as a part of your job description, you can say: “Yes, I will do that, but I won’t be able to get to it until tomorrow.”
Finally, just practice saying it out loud. “No thank-you,” “sorry, but no,” “I would love to, but I can’t,” “no, no, no, no, no, no!”. Ah, feels good doesn’t it?