Is ‘No’ a Dirty Word?

by | Aug 27, 2017 | Self-Care

Dr Olga Lavalle say no

When was the last time you said “No” to someone, whether it’s your friend, your boss, or a family member?…. Can you remember?…. Well if you’re like lots of other people it’s probably been never or maybe once or twice – and even then you were probably plagued with so much guilt it made you sick.

So why do people find it hard to say No?

You’re not alone! Saying ‘no’ is hard for many people because no one wants to let other people down. Then there’s the fear of being perceived as being selfish, rude or unkind. Saying no doesn’t mean that you are rude, selfish, or unkind, it genuinely means that at this time you simply cannot do it.

Holding onto learned beliefs about what it means/says about you as a person if you say NO only makes it harder. Learning where these beliefs have come from is the start in learning to let go of them.

  • Some other reasons are:
  • Wanting approval
  • Not wanting to hurt others
  • Wanting to be liked or loved
  • Not wanting to feel bad when we say no
  • Not wanting to deal with other people’s anger
  • Avoiding guilt
  • Fear of confrontation

3 Reasons why saying NO is good for you?

1. It allows you more time to focus on yourself

If you’re one of those people who say yes to everything, then you must find yourself often feeling stressed and trying to work out when you will find the time to do your own things. Having more time for yourself will lead you to be productive instead of rushing around and only getting tasks half done.

2. You’ll be respected

Believe it or not people will respect you. The more you say yes to every request or opportunity, the more people will expect from you. Soon you’ll find that you will resent helping others. By saying NO, people who really count will understand and respect you and those that don’t, well do you really need them in your life? You’ll also be respected for as others will know your time is valuable.

3. It will improve your self-esteem

If you want to keep your self-esteem high or improve it, then saying no is the skill you need to learn. Because if you don’t know how to say no, then you will often find yourself doing things that are not important to you. By saying “NO” you’re saying “YES” to the most important person in the world and that’s YOU. Take it as a compliment and feel good about it.

Tips for saying NO

  • Start looking around you and observe how people say NO.
  • It’s always best to be clear and direct and say “no, I can’t” or “no, I don’t want to.”
  • You don’t have to apologise because you have done nothing wrong and you don’t have to give all sorts of reasons why to justify yourself.
  • Don’t lie as you will have to remember what you said. Not only this but also lying will most likely lead you to feel guilty and this is what you want to avoid. 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. This will get you feeling a lot more comfortable with saying no.
  • Don’t prolong the situation and make yourself feel even more stressed by saying “I’ll think about it” Always remember your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for other people.
  • Learning to say NO will help you to start to feel in control of your life. It will not only set you free but empower you.

Written by Olga Lavalle

Olga is registered as a Clinical Psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. She provides psychological services under Medicare, is an Employee Assistance Program provider and an approved WorkCover NSW provider. Additionally, Olga consults to workplace and community sporting organisations.

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