The importance of saying “no”

Feeling embarrassed, guilty or unwilling when it comes to saying no? You are not alone. This situation is more common than we think, especially for those who are helpful and empathetic. Why is it so important to deal with it?

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There is a paradox. The most common reason why we feel uncomfortable when saying no is because we want to protect our relationships. But you will never have time for everything. Saying yes ceaselessly will leave you overcommitted and shortchanging your relationships, including your family or friends. On the contrary, committing that you can’t promise something is a fair and open way to protect your precious time and limited resources.

Be polite and honest

Saying no means being honest and authentic, which are essential qualities for healthy relationships. But it’s also very difficult, because we are afraid that declining other´s requests may hurt their feelings. Don’t be ashamed to say „no“. In his book A Power of a Positive No William Ury explains that you are not responsible for emotions of other people and their reactions. It’s impossible to please everyone and the feeling of guiltiness or a fear of confrontation are very common obstacles in so much important and needed “saying no” skill.

Setting boundaries​

Saying no can be especially difficult for mothers. Many of us feel like we need to succeed in this new and all the other roles as well, which leads to overwhelming stress, frustration, lack of time and energy for yourself and the inability to say yes to really important things. Refusing some wishes of your children, relatives, family members, partners or friends can unexpectedly help you to feel more confident, relieved and open to alternative solutions. Saying no is a key stone of your personal growth, explain Patti Harman and Connie Hatch in their book How to Say no Without Feeling Guilty.

Unexpected benefits

Steve Jobs said that “Focusing is about saying no”. Maybe that the most important decisions aren’t the “yeses”, but the “nos”. There’s no need to make a big change in your habits or force yourself to uncomfortable decisions. You can start with small steps that are not too challenging and can encourage you in your new approach. Even small changes in your customs can make a big difference for your mental well-being.

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