Learning to say no, does not mean that you are a bad person. In fact, sometimes it is good to say yes, even if you don’t feel like it. Often others need our help, and that’s the time to not say no. But if you are an empath who likely gets taken advantage of by others who see you to be the one to always pick up the pieces, a little assertiveness may be in order. The danger is that if you get into the habit of never saying no, your whole life ends up being for the benefit of others, rather than living your own life, according to your own values. How many people do you know who are dead inside, because they are living the dreams of others, instead of their own?
The Joy of No is a book for people pleasers who always have a hard job saying no, and often get taken advantage of by others who assume that your life is for their benefit. Obviously kind people don’t say no if they need to say yes. But we are talking here about not letting others take advantage of you, for no good reason at all. Having the courage to sometimes say this one little word, could change your life for the better. Whether it’s turning down an invite to attend a party with people you don’t like, or saying no to small unimportant errands, this simple phrase helps you to take back your life, and go on to find new friends who don’t use and abuse you.
The main truth to ask is – why do you never say no? If people genuinely need your help, so be it. But often it’s the people-pleasers of the world that say yes, either to be accepted, or because they are frightened of seeming unkind. One of the best ways to make yourself unhappy for the rest of your life, it to give a hoot about what others think of you. That’s where getting older is good. If someone says you should care what people think, just reply ‘No more – that ship’s already sailed!’
Don’t say maybe, if you want to say no. Paulo Coelho
Most of have weak and flaccid ‘no’ muscles. Your ‘no’ muscle has to be built up to get to a place where you can say ‘I don’t care if that’s what you want. I don’t want that. No’. Iyanla Vanzant
Often people say no, when they are vulnerable. People who are kind, not very busy, don’t have a job, have no family as a ‘get out clause’ like people with children, have some money etc. These are the ones that people often keep asking to do jobs they don’t want to. Ultimately, it’s because they think your time is less valuable than theirs, and that’s not fair. There are bigger issues to say no to. Some people say no to shooting people during the war, and got sent to prison or even executed.
If you have trouble saying no, then just rehearse a few lines, until you can say them easily out loud. Rather than keep making excuses, just find ways to say no (but say yes, if it’s genuine help that’s needed!), like:
‘Sorry, I have other plans. Perhaps next time’.
‘Thanks for asking, but no thank you’. (leave it at that, you don’t have to make up a list of excuses).
Don’t say ‘I’ll think about it’. Just say no, and be done with it.