For many of us, saying “Yes” when we really want to say “Hell No!” is one of our worst and most inevitable practices. We simply cannot help ourselves. Many of us cringe at the thought of letting someone down. Or worse, upset anyone because we do not want to do what they want us to. Speaking up and putting forward our best interest can be nerve wrecking. However, to establish healthy boundaries and to develop rock solid confidence, one has to learn how to say NO.
The patterns of being complacent and obedient were embedded in us during childhood. Many of us were raised under a system of punishment and reward. “Ifs” and “Buts” were all part of the conditional love that we were brought up with. “If you do ___ then I will ___ you”. As children, we were naturally rebellious and operated mainly from our animal instincts. Our motto was “If it feels, looks, or tastes good, I want it! I want it now!”. Of course, no one likes a brat and we quickly learned from our short-tempered parents about rules. “Good boy”, “good girl”, “bad boy”, “bad girl”, punishment, treats, rewards, guilt, fear, pleasure, and the pressure to be an ideal child made many us into nervous, fidgety “Yes Men”. Eager and jumping at the chance to be helpful and pleasant. Constantly seeking approval, attention, love, and emotional fulfillment. As adults,we now face a challenge setting up the boundaries and restrictions needed to protect ourselves and to support our aspirations, desires, and goals.
Yes or No?
When someone asks for you to do something that you do not want to, look inside and analyze why you are experiencing resistance to it. Is it fear? Sometimes acting against fear can be beneficial towards our spiritual and emotional growth. For example; A friend invites you and couple of others to bungee jump with her on her birthday. You are terrified of heights. You feel that you cannot handle the experience. You start making up excuses in our head. Anxiety kicks in. How am I going to do this?
However, deep down inside you are curious. You have heard it’s pretty safe and actually fun. You do not want to miss out on being there with her. Also, you want to show her you care. You want to celebrate her. Weight in your options. See what positives this negative can bring to your life. If you say “No” you might miss out on a great opportunity to have a good time. If you say “Yes” you will face that fear and might conquer the phobia. This could result in you becoming a stronger, more confident person. Best of all, you will share a memorable bonding experience with your friend. Saying yes to life; Yes to that which makes you thrive, glow, radiate, and grow is always right.
On the other hand, saying yes for reasons such as wanting acceptance and approval is unhealthy. It is caused by lack. Lack of confidence and self-esteem. Lack of boundaries. Lack of believing in and respecting ourselves. This always results in unpleasant and unfulfilling relationships and situations. If you say yes to bungee jumping because you don’t want to upset your friend, and you fear that you will seem uncool and fall out of favor with the crowd then you are doing it for the wrong reasons! Saying yes to project something which you really aren’t contradicts your inner and outer image. This leads to self-doubt and self hate. You will always feel less than and disappointed. Saying yes with a martyr attitude (I always put myself before others, I am such a good person) is ego driven and hypocritical. Be honest with yourself. What are the real reasons why you choose the options you do? Are you acting out of ego? Applying authenticity and integrity to sort out your choice is the best way to make the right decision.
Another example: One of your cousins asks you to loan him a large amount of money to help him bail his girlfriend out of jail. Other members of your family say you should help. Your cousin starts pressuring and bullying you. You feel conflicted and a little scared of what he might do if you don’t give him the money. You have the funds, but you need them to maintain your own financial wellbeing. Not having that money could jeopardize you.
Your instincts yell out “No! He is never going to pay you back” but your guilt trip patterns and fear of appearing as selfish or insensitive towards a member of your family is too strong. Perhaps you dread the anger and drama your unwillingness to assist may bring upon you. You feel harassed and manipulated. If you say “Yes” you will have disrespected your own integrity and allowed others to step over your boundaries. Saying yes out of fear of what others will think of you is the worst decision you can make. Putting your financial security at risk over not having the guts to stand up for your self is damaging. It could lead you down a downward spiral of regret and self-hate. In this situation saying “No” might seem like the hardest thing to do. Fear of repercussion leads us to believe it is easier to just give in and do as you are asked. However, one must always choose right over pleasant. Never agree to do something that does not benefit you and goes against your beliefs. As humans, we are blessed with the gift of free will. Use it and embrace your power. Your internal guidance will always lead you to the right choice.
How To Say No.
There are many ways to beat around the bush. Know that they all lead to drama and misunderstandings. Sugar coating and “softening the blow” are deceptive tactics that should be avoided. Do not apologize after every sentence. You are a brilliant capable being who should not have to excuse himself for existing. Say “NO!” with confidence. Sometimes our imagination and over thinking leads us to believe that by saying no we will experience the worst of punishments. In reality, when we give a solid and unapologetic response the other party will simply have to accept it and move on. If someone pleads and bargains, stand your ground. Have self-respect and dignity.
How to handle the uneasiness and confusion brought upon when saying no.
Do you feel like every time you say “No” you are a disappointment or untrustworthy? This is mainly because of the programing we went trough as children. Although our parents may not have purposely intended to manipulate and trick us into doing what they wanted, those engrams remain within us. To feel guilty or responsible for helping others is a part of our nature as empathic beings. However, understand that it is not our obligation to save the world. First, we must be responsible for ourselves. We must take care of our needs and become the best version of ourselves. Only trough living authentically we can be of service to others. Integrity also plays a crucial part in maintaining good relationships with others. If you know you cannot fulfill a commitment then don’t agree to it. Only say yes to those things that you know you can handle. Taking on too many commitments and responsibilities will not burn you out, but also you will not be delivering your best in everything. Keep this in mind next time you have to answer to someone. Practice makes perfect, and the art of saying NO is one every one must master in this lifetime.