Learning to Say No (and Mean It)

Learning to Say No
Learning to Say No

No. It’s one of the most powerful words in the English language, yet so many of us (now that we’re adults) are afraid to use it. We feel compelled to please others, desire to help others (to a fault), and simply forget that running ourselves into the ground will ultimately hurt us.

It’s time to learn to say it.

No.

Saying No Isn’t Mean

You need to understand that saying “no” will not turn you into a horrible person. It will help you, and those around you, to better understand and value your time. When someone asks you to do something you have to assess a) whether or not it is a true emergency that needs immediate attention and b) whether or not you really have the time. You are not obligated to stretch your schedule to the max at a detriment to your own health and well-being.

Respecting Your Time

Don’t be wishy-washy about saying “no,” either. Listen attentively to a person’s request, consider your abilities and time constraints, and give a clear and decisive answer. Coming back to the same request over and over again wastes your time and it also wastes the time of the person who could be moving on to ask someone else for assistance.

It’s Not Always About Work

Saying “no” isn’t always about work. Did you schedule some self-care time into your weekend only to find a friend chirping in your ear about not going to dinner or to a club? Enjoy your time, guilt-free, with the knowledge that you are doing what is best for your mental and physical health. You can hang out with your friends another time.

Set reasonable boundaries, schedule your time, stick to your guns, and never feel bad about saying “no” to someone when saying “yes” would cause you stress or other life complications. You’ll have plenty of other opportunities to say “yes” in the future – when you choose to.

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