The courage to say NO

Many of us encounter daily situations where we feel we need to answer NO to a request or a demand. Yet, we find ourselves responding with a positive YES, often against our best interests and strong feelings. We avoid using the word NO.

Some experiences and reasons why we avoid responding with a NO include:

  • Assuming the other person reads our minds: “he will understand that I am not interested. I will just not respond to his e mails and eventually he’ll get it”
  • Fearing confrontations: ” saying NO is a deal breaker, she will break up with me”, “he will be angry”, “consequences will be harsh”
  • Wishing to please: “they will like me if I agree”, “I will be popular, a part of them”

Many of these situations have a negative impact on our well being. Sometimes long term negative consequences. We might feel dis genuine, not content, taken advantage of, not smart or inferior.

What are the benefits for us when we use the NO more often?

  • Boosting self esteem­ you have the right to choose your responses. You are a responsible, intelligent person who is capable of making a decision that will benefit you.
  • Feeling protected and free­ You protect your interests and well being. Sometimes you protect others as well. You feel the freedom to decide and act on your decisions.
  • Feeling courageous­ You feel accomplished, courageous. You overcame fears or obstacles that prevented you from moving on. You are not stuck.
  • Boosting self worth and confidence­ You are feel worthy, deserving and confident. You are in charge.
  • Learning to be assertive­ you learn to deliver your message, express your feelings in a clear, understandable, empathic way that shows respect to you and others
  • Respecting others­ You learn to be humble and to not hurt others.

Getting to say NO is a process. A process that you can repeat and master:

  1. Take your time, be patient, think it through, respond with a promise to get back with an
  2. Assess pros and cons as it effects your well being. What are the risks and benefits of saying NO. How will it affect you in the short and long run.
  3. Plan and develop a response that will convey your feelings, yet not hurt others.
  4. Practice and deliver your message.
  5. Evaluate your feelings and others’ reactions.

Review the process frequently. Keep in mind that practice makes it easier. Within time you will master responding with a genuine response that will match your true feelings. You will master patience and understanding.
Keep in mind that you are in charge of your responses. You have the courage to become happier and stronger.


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