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  • Writer's pictureAcelli Crippen-Kok

Learn to Say No to Improve Your Life

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

When we were younger, everywhere we turned we were being taught to say no, right? “Just say no to drugs”, say no to getting into cars with strangers, and say no to sex until marriage. All solid lessons. However, no one was teaching any of us the power of saying no in order to improve our life. Are you asking yourself how saying no can improve your life?

Learn to say no to improve your life
Learn to say no to improve your life

Yeah, I figured as much!

It took me a long time to learn to say no, because I had no idea how important it was for my mental health and self-confidence. Setting boundaries is an important life skill I want to share with you now.

The Power of Saying No

Most people are used to saying YES in order to please others. It’s difficult to admit this, but as a woman, I can say this from experience - women tend to say YES more often than men. More often than not, humans want to be accepted by others. Saying yes gets us that euphoric feeling of being liked, accepted, and needed. Giving up our own time, our money and, eventually, our mental health is a small price to be liked, wanted, and needed, right?

WRONG. If you don’t want to say yes, DON’T. There’s power in setting boundaries with others, and saying no is an important boundary. It allows you to take back your:

  • time

  • money

  • mental health

  • life

When you’re constantly saying yes to every request made of you - it’s a good indicator you have a need to people-please. If you need to people-please, that should be explored on a deeper level, sometimes through counseling. And, you absolutely need to start saying no to people, so you can begin to figure out what you really want to do, instead of doing what everyone else wants you to do.

Since you’re probably not quite used to saying no, and have no clue where to begin, I’m hoping I can get you started with some simple ways to learn how to say no.

We All Need to Learn How to Say No

Saying yes all the time doesn’t give you the life you want, but it gives others carte blanche over your life. Nobody’s got time for that! If we’re always saying yes, resentment, stress, and aggravation builds up. When we’re resentful, stressed out and aggravated all the time, we end up pissed off at ourselves, which turns into us lashing out at others and then being harsh with ourselves.

Let’s break this down, so you can see it in front of you, and it isn’t just this “concept” out there in space.

What we say:

  • Sure, I can help you paint your house.

  • Absolutely, I can attend your holiday party on my busiest day of the season, no problem.

  • Yes, I can plan a birthday party for mom/dad/sibling/friend.

What we think saying no is:

  • Sorry, I can’t help you, I have to [fill in some long-winded explanation].

  • I’m so sorry, I can’t make it to your party. [Some kind of explanation.]

  • Maybe I can help a little bit, but I can’t do all the planning because [some explanation].

What we should say:

  • No.

  • No.

  • No.

We need to learn to say no, and to say no without feeling any kind of guilt. So how do we do this?

  • Know, deep down inside yourself, what you want.

  • Understand what saying yes will mean for your life.

  • Embrace the concept that saying no is OKAY.

  • Give your response however it is comfortable for you: face-to-face, email, text, etc.

  • Keep your “no” simple, but respectful. A simple no, no thank you. But you do NOT have to apologize when saying no to a request.

  • If you actually do want to say yes, but really don’t have the time on the day/date requested, offer up an alternative option.

Saying No is a Form of Self-Care

We’re all social creatures. We want to be a part of something. And we give up what we want, and need, in order to be accepted by others and become a part of ‘something’. Most of us are guilty, me included, of saying yes when we have no time, no money, and no desire to really do what we’re saying yes to.

And then we wonder why our mental and physical health aren’t any good. We’re tired mentally and physically because we’re too busy pleasing others doing things we don’t want to do, we have no time to rest and relax, and participate in the things that inspire us. The stuff that feeds our souls.

The concept of the power of no is never taught to us when it comes to improving our daily life, just when it comes to saying no to drugs, and not getting into a stranger’s car. We all need to say no when we really, truly want to say no, without any guilt! Setting boundaries and saying no is the ultimate form of self-care.

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