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How to Stop Saying “Yes” When You Want to Say “No”

By Chantalle Gerber
I am a sucker for saying “yes.” Sometimes I even find myself thinking “no, no, no, no” and then I blurt out “yes.” Why is it so difficult to say the word “no”? It’s just a word, right?
I asked myself why it was so important for me to please everyone, to the point that I would feel resentful and stressed because of it. I realized that I was afraid of saying “no” because my biggest fear is rejection. Having people think negatively of me, for me personally, is the ultimate rejection. Whether they say what they think of me, out loud or not, does not matter to me. It is the thought that they look down on me.
I realize that this is a challenge that many people go through every day. It’s a heavy burden to carry because with the urge to say “yes” also comes a lack of self-confidence and self-value.
If, like me, you’re having trouble saying “no,” this may help. Saying “No” Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Person. Saying “no” doesn’t mean that you are being rude, selfish, or unkind.
As a child, we learned that saying the word “no” was impolite or inappropriate. “Yes” was the polite and likable thing to say. And we hold onto our childhood beliefs and continue to associate “no” with being dislikeable, bad mannered, unkind, or selfish. We worry that if we say “no,” we will end up being alone, rejected, or abandoned.
Choose your own opinion about yourself over others. If you live your life depending on other people’s approval, you will never feel free and truly happy because what you are basically saying is “Their opinion of me is more important than my opinion about myself.” If you’re opinion of yourself is actually quite low, remember: Your problems do not define you. It’s okay to make mistakes. What makes a person great is not their looks or achievements, but their willingness to love others, be humble, and grow as a person. You are unique, valuable, and important. No one else in this world can offer what you can.
Think about the anguish, stress, and resentment that saying “yes” has caused you. Wouldn’t it be so much easier and straightforward to just say “no” in the first place? After committing to something you may begin to think of ways you can get out of it. And if you don’t have any good excuses, you then have to decide if you are going to tell the truth or come up with a lie.
Be direct, such as “no, I can’t” or “no, I don’t want to.”
Don’t apologize and give all sorts of reasons.
Don’t lie. Lying will most likely lead to guilt—and remember, this is what you are trying to avoid feeling.
Remember that it is better to say no now than be resentful later.
Be polite, such as “Thanks for asking.”
Practice saying “no.” Imagine a scenario and then practice saying no either by yourself or with a friend.
Don’t say “I’ll think about it” if you mean “no.” This will just prolong the situation and make you feel even more stressed.
Remember that your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for other people.
If you want that same feeling of freedom and empowerment, then take control, challenge yourself, and learn to say “no.”

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