How to Say “No”

Women are notorious known for having a difficult time saying “no.” This word has just two letters, yet we carry it around like an extremely large dictionary…for some of us, it weights heavily in our hearts when we have to say “no.”

We were not born with a built-in gene that must say “yes” to every request that comes our way. So why do we feel compelled to give our time away to others.

Each one of us have a barrage of reasons why we just can’t say “no” to our neighbor, friend, co-worker, love one, family member. How many tasks on your “To Do” lists are there because of other people’s requests? Are you frustrated with yourself for responding to others in the same old way? Why not try something different.

I think it’s just so simple…exercise…build your “no” muscles. I can hear the “moans” right now….exercise!!!!! Here are 4 tips to start exercising now. By the way, this kind of exercise can be fun.

1. Create of list of the times you said “yes” when you wanted to say “no.” Have fun, become absurd, and still capture all those times when you just wanted to say “no.” You can do this exercise with a friend…she too may be struggling with the “can’t say no disease.”

2. Next to each time you said “yes,” put the name of the person you said “yes” to and why. No judgments allowed here….just become aware of your choices…your decisions.

3. Did you find that one person was taking a lot of your time? Or a certain situation surfaces that you are good at and everyone always asks for your help. Let’s try an experiment. For the next 30 days, each day say “no” at least once to that person or to one situation that you would normally say “yes.”

Making a change can bring up anxiety in a person, so start slow with your responses of “no”. If you do it for 30 days, once a day, you will become more flexible with your “no’s.”

4. Keep a journal – every day take time to write on what you said “no” to, to whom, and how you felt after having done so. You may have a whole range of reactions….from guilt to ecstatic (what took me so long). The writing doesn’t have to take long, just enough time to capture the experience for you. You are exercising your “change” muscles.

Final Thoughts

Ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time right now. If I say “yes” to this request, what will I have to remove from my current “To Do” list to make time for this new request?”

We all have to make choices with our time, so prioritize what is important for you to be confident and contented in your life, and let go of the rest. If you use guilt as the guide for your decisions, each time you say “yes” to something you really don’t want to do, you give away a bit of your happiness.

From now on, exercise your “no” muscles.

Copyright (c) 2008 Pat Brill