Smashing the Myths of No

Last week we covered more of the under workings of saying no.   This week we play myth busters about saying no.   We will challenge the misconceptions about saying no and provide an alternative thought for each.  Let’s start with all the things saying no isn’t    

It isn’t being a bad person.  At some point in time, the greatest kindest people have had to say no.  Saying no sends the message that you respect yourself and the other people involved.  You are kind enough to not let them believe you will engage with them in a happy, effective way.   When you say yes to someone there is an expectation that you will complete the task, not come back with resentments later, and not be unhappy performing the request.  To let someone believe you will do these things when you really can’t with 100% certainty say you can is rather unfair.  You are setting all involved up for a bad experience. 

Saying no isn’t a demonstration of self-confidence or self-respect.  When we say yes from a point of fear of rejection, we are giving the other person tremendous power over us.   We are basically suggesting they could do anything they wanted because they are more important to us than we are.  At the end of the day, when we turn out the lights and lay down our heads it is thoughts and judgements we make of ourselves that haunt us.  Those thoughts may have stemmed from other people, yet it is our choice to carry them forward in our lives.  By saying yes when you want to say no, you are sending the message to yourself that you choose to believe those horrible things about yourself.  Each misplaced no can be the equivalent of a new bruise on your body.  You cannot heal if you continue to poke the bruises or make new ones.

Saying no isn’t always the least expensive option.   If we think of our resources as a pot of gold and each request of for a piece of that gold, what is the most cost effective?  Saying yes may take a small piece of gold now but are you leaving enough for a rainy day?  When someone asks you for something or to do something think of the price tag that come with it.   How much time is it going to cost you?  How much stress is it going to bring you?  What is the personal cost to you?  If you say yes when you don’t want to, what is the potential cost to that?  Are you going to have to force yourself to do it?  How will you feel if you don’t do it and let the person down?   Would you rather the look of disappointment on your friends face when you say no or the look when you didn’t do what you said you would do?  One of those options takes away trust and damages a relationship.  The other is honest and respectful of your friend. 

One of the greatest things about saying no, is it is one of the best ways to show respect for yourself and others.  It is about knowing yourself and valuing who you are.  It is about having the courage to be honest in our day to day lives.  It is about respecting the other people involved to not let your baggage get in their way.  It is about being a part of the solution, not adding to the problem.  Even when we say no, we are letting the other people know what resources they can count on.  This brings them one step closer to the best solution for them and the situation.

Before we can jump into ways to say no, it is best to better understand where your boundaries are.  This will provide a framework to help you find areas you can practice saying no to.  By taking the time to explore your feelings to certain situations or experiences, you are then armed with information to back up your no.   As an example, if you are uncomfortable with people touching you when you first meet, you can design a rule for yourself on how you want to be treated and will deal with those first meetings. When you are outside of the situation without the emotions involved, you can think logically about the best course of action for you.  This gives you the time to process your feelings around it and maybe challenge some mistaken beliefs as well.  

This week's worksheet dives into each relationship and explores how you feel about boundaries in that relationship and how to improve them if need be.  

Next post we will cover effective ways to say no with some sentence structures you can use to help make it easier.

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