No is one of the shortest words in the human language. Likely the first word issued by most of us as babies. No is an almost universal word, understood regardless of other language barriers.
Both yes and no are words that make us responsible for our thoughts & actions. If we say yes, we’re responsible for fulfilling whatever we agreed to. If we say no, we must accept that another may be upset.
It is ok to say ‘no’ to conserve our energy and define our priorities. Because we’ve developed & collected a large scope of experience & connections over the years, we’re often in great demand! So, learning to determine when we need to say ‘no’ is very important. The fact is, we really can’t do all that we’re asked for a variety of reasons & if we do try to, we’re potentially increasing our likelihood for illness triggered by physical & emotional stress.
When you need to say no, there is no need to over-explain or justify our position. No is no. But, if like many of us we’ve said ‘yes’ throughout life when we really wanted or needed to say ‘no’ here are 4 strategies for getting comfortable with using the word when we need to conserve our energy.
1) Just practice saying: ‘No.’ Get used to the sound of it coming out of your adult mouth.
2) If no still feels too hard, practice saying this with a smile: “Thank you for asking. I’m flattered, but I can’t do it. I appreciate your understanding.”
3) When possible, offer a suggestion. Maybe there is someone else or some other way you can envision the requested being fulfilled. “I’d love to help, but I can’t. Perhaps you can…”
4) Remove yourself or change the subject.
It is OK to say no. We have every right to think about our response and respond within our own timeframe if we need to think about our answer as well. So, before you jump to say OK (another short word…) stop and choose. It is OK to say ‘No.’ and move on guilt-free. Try it.
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