Five reasons we should learn to say no
How can one learn to say NO? "Is a question for each of my seminars. "I do not know how to say NO" is an answer I often hear from my private clients.
Regardless of whether we are working on stress management, self-confidence or success in professional and personal life, the inability to say NO is a source of stress, frustration and resentment that plagues our relationships and our life.
Before studying the "how", let's ask ourselves the question of "why".
Why do we have to say no? We are taught from our childhood to be polite, kind, attentive. To say no is for most of us as pleasant as having a tooth pulled without anesthesia.
Yes, we are afraid of hurting, annoying or even angering the person facing us. If in addition we will have to work with this person in the future, we prefer to stay on good terms with her. If it's about our friends or loved ones, we may feel guilt at not being there for them when they need it (and sometimes they do not hesitate to make us feel it).
The biggest challenge is often to say NO to the boss, our children or partner. The fear of being fired, misperceived or not loved then takes over. And yet, we must learn to say no just to be in good shape, less stressed, productive and to be respected and loved.
Here are 5 reasons to say NO:
1. Because otherwise we would not have time to rest and recharge.
By accepting every invitation, activity, networking event, lunch with our parents / cousins and every request for a helping hand, we have no more quiet time. And if we get sick, who will take care of our family, our work and our customers?
2. Otherwise we would end up frustrated and stressed.
One of the characteristics of stress is that it weighs on the body with each new request. If we accept too many additional requests, we will eventually feel that we no longer have free space for ourselves. Stress and frustration increase and what had to be an activity done with pleasure or a service rendered heartily becomes a chore. Prolonged stress has sometimes catastrophic consequences on our health and our lives.
3. Because otherwise we would spend more time with people we hardly know than with our family and close friends.
It's almost the story of my life as an expatriate: by helping associates and friends in difficulty, I spent more time with "strangers" than with my family. Of course, to be aware of this, we have to be clear with our personal value. The less you feel worthy, the more apt you will be to nurture your worth by activities that fill your void but that in itself are not necessarily aligned with your life plan. If you want to be loved, valued and respected, give yourself love and respect and remember that your value is not negotiable.
4. Otherwise we would live the priorities of others and have no time to work on ours.
Are you clear with your dreams, your life plans and your priorities? Then start with yours and only if you have time and energy, think of others. I agree, we are here too to participate, share and serve the community, take care of our family and give our friends time. You still need some discernment: if you are flat out on the carpet, you become your priority. Rest is needed. If you give too much and too often and you end up frustrated, your friendships and relationships will not last. If you prioritise acquaintances instead of your loved ones, the harmony of your family and relationships will be weakened. If you work on the projects of others who have nothing to do with yours, you will end up living the lives of others and less of yours. Use your head but also your heart to make the choice to say NO.
5. Otherwise we would not establish healthy boundaries with others and we would feel victims.
This is perhaps one of the most important reasons to say NO. From this comes our respect for ourselves and our personal power to behave as adults. I see all too often people saying YES instead of saying NO, then blaming others and becoming the victims of their own inability to set boundaries. Personally, I recommend that we stop complaining and decide for ourselves what we are willing to say YES to and then do it with joy, or to say NO clearly and assume the consequences. Our relationships with others and especially with ourselves will become much healthier.