Learning to say no and asserting yourself at last!

So that’s it then, you find yourself trapped for the weekend, forced to take on more work, to look after your nephew or to go away with your grandparents. Well what do you expect? You say yes to everything! Finding it difficult to say no, you’re scared of offending or disappointing, and always end up feeling guilty. Although feeling unhappy now, you’re actually in luck; you can learn to say no and assert your decisions. Come on, we’ll show you!

We know full well what happens and why we always find ourselves saying yes; fear of disappointing, of not rising to the occasion, of being less well-liked… but asserting yourself by appearing firm and saying no is, above all, loving yourself, respecting yourself and it’s essential for your mental health and self-confidence. What if we finally learnt to say yes to ourselves for the sake of our own happiness? We’ll show you how to go about it.

« Being free is knowing how to say no. » Jean-Paul Sartre 

5 steps of saying “no” without feeling guilty

It’s often the need to be liked and appreciated that drives us to say yes, straight away, without even thinking about it, to everything anyone ever asks us. This stems from feeling frustrated and having low self-esteem. Now, no more feeling trapped, here’s how to say no more easily:

1. Use the phrase “yes but…”

Are you not really in a position to say no? That doesn’t matter. You can start by saying “yes but”. To do this, you have to rank your priorities. For instance, if you need to rest but someone invites you to a party, say “yes, but I’m only going to stay until 2am”. Likewise, if your boss gives you more work to do, on top of all the work you already have, say to them, “yes, but at the moment I have more urgent work to do, I will take a look at it after”. So, you get the picture now!

2. Take time to think

When someone suggests something to you, you don’t have to say yes straight away, take time to think about it. Mindfulness mediation might help you. This will allow you to work on acting less impulsively.

3. Put forward your arguments but don’t justify yourself

If you argue “no”, the person you are talking to can hear your reasoning straight away. This allows you to explain yourself, but without getting aggressive and especially without justifying yourself by making up far-fetched excuses. Be honest and explain yourself.

4. Defend your private life

You have a right to want to have some alone time, to have your own plans, to be with your own family or partner. Basically, there are times when you’re not available, and that’s normal. Once you have accepted this fact, you will feel more comfortable saying no and will be able to make the most of YOUR life.

5. Hang on in there

If those around you have always heard you say yes, it’s going to be hard for them to accept you saying no. That doesn’t matter, it’s your choice, so stand firm and simply repeat what you said before without giving in.

And what about at work? How do you say no?

By wanting to do everything all the time, more or less willingly, burnouts claim more and more victims. That’s why it’s essential to know how to resist strong reluctance from time to time. Saying no means taking back control of your planning at work but also means becoming more productive. Basically, you’ve got every reason to say know to your boss!

Why should you say no?

  • To show that you are truly in tune with your values
  • To respect your boundaries and yourself
  • To increase your self-confidence
  • To get enjoyment out of everything you do
  • To regain your freedom to choose
  • To not suffer
  • To look after yourself and your health

Give it a go!

Saying “no” is a real learning process, you should practice it a bit every day. It’s hard at first but when you see how good it is for you, you won’t be able to stop. Say goodbye to frustration and anger, you’re now free! Learning to say “no” might take you a while, but as long as you don’t lose sight of your objective, you will finally be able to take the reins of your life and be proud of yourself. Good luck!
If your inability to say “no” lands you in impossible situations or puts the breaks on your life, it might be time to contact a therapist. Together, you will get to the crux of the problem and will find solutions.

You may also be interested in: Why Can I Never See The Positive? I Only See The Worst!

Read our latest articles here:

4 Exercises That Will Help You Learn To Breathe Better

Breathing is something we do so naturally, so much so that we sometimes forget to do ...


Should I Tell My Friend She’s Being Cheated On?

One Saturday morning, my phone rang out of the blue. It was Chris, my friend Lauren’s...


Help! I’m Just Way Too Nice!

I've always been the nice girl. You know, the one who smiles at everyone even when no...


The Power Of Positive Communication In Relationships

A friend once told me that a relationship is like the inside of a snow globe; intimat...


Is Flirting Cheating?

Amongst the long list of things that rattle your brains, relationships and questions ...


Should I Come Clean About Cheating On My Partner?

Um, now this is definitely a very tricky subject. It sounds as though your desire and...