Don’t Fear Saying No

As you travel on your journey not everyone you meet or even those you are related to will have your best interests in mind. Treating everyone with respect and loving kindness is an important virtue, but so is being aware and being able to tell when opportunistic people are knocking on your door.

People who tend to be opportunist find kind, loving people, easy prey. And you, wanting to be a good person, can find yourself saying “yes” to so much more than you bargained for. I’m not talking about being asked for a little favor, I’m talking about the big favors that could turn your life upside down. But since I mentioned little favors, they too can get to be annoying.

So how do you protect yourself from being taken advantage of, or simply not really wanting to do what’s being asked of you? Just say NO. Sounds simple but it ISN’T because nice people have trouble saying no. It makes them feel bad. You don’t want to let anyone down and you sure don’t want to come across as selfish and uncaring. But sometimes you just have to protect yourself and you do that by simply saying No.

It’s much harder after you agree to do something to try to undo it. That’s why a loving person needs to think a little bit about themselves and stop worrying about how it might look if they don’t do what’s being asked, or hurt the other person. Yes, someone might get hurt and that someone might be you!

The closer the person is to you the harder it will be to say no. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? So they get mad and stop talking to you and the relationship ends. You have to ask yourself what kind of relationship would end because you said no? I’d say it’s not the relationship that you thought you had and probably isn’t worth keeping.

Be the kind of person that’s not only kind to others but also kind to yourself. Don’t fear saying No when that’s what you really want to say. It’s been said that No is a complete sentence, so use it and set yourself free.

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13 thoughts on “Don’t Fear Saying No

  1. I had that word ‘yes’ hanging around my neck for many, many years Michele. It was one of the hardest things to learn in fear of losing friends, alienating people or just plain scared that they would all think badly of me.
    One day I found myself and just said no to the next person that asked. It was such a relief, shackles fell of all around me, and suddenly I was free…and I mean that literally as that is exactly what it felt like.
    Mind you, I rebelled at first because they kept asking because I had never said no before and they wanted to know why I wouldn’t do something. So I persisted in giving reasons but I then realised I wasn’t standing in my truth and what I was saying was just excuses.
    So then I did stand in my truth, AND told them exactly why, with integrity (no, yell or scream as that defeats the whole thing).
    And THAT was what I needed to learn. Just be me without the fears of the world hanging around my neck 😀
    Great post Michele, thank you for sharing. Mark

    • Thank you so much, Mark, for sharing your story. It can be really hard to say no, but like you said, “Just be me without the fears of the world hanging around my neck.” It really is about being ourselves and feeling free.

  2. Trini Lind says:

    I love this post! 🙂 It is hard to say no, especially for sensitive people, I have a hard time myself, and since I rarely say no people tend to attack me when I do. Its difficult, but I agree, it is very important to learn.

    • Thank you, Trini! You and I are sensitive people and it’s hard because we feel like we are hurting and letting other people down. What works for me is reminding myself that I will get hurt if I say yes. Also, I put a smile on my face, and with kindness say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

  3. I tell my mama that all the time. Sometimes you just have to say ‘no’.

  4. As I am approaching the senior life, saying no is getting a lot easier. However, needing to say no to my son is still very difficult. I am a part-time sitter for my grandchildren, splitting days with my daughter-in-law’s mother. When my son travels I have 14 hours in a day I need to watch my 3 and 6 year old grandchildren. My daughter-in-law is a nurse and works 12 hour shifts. It exhaust me and it takes at least two days to recover. They are saving a lot of day care money. I love them all so dearly but I cannot say no.

    • Hi, Jude 🙂 Once again, we have something in common! My son-in-law is a nurse and also works those long shifts, and my daughter is a social worker and at times works six days a week. They have eight-year-old twin girls and I love them so much, but I know what you are talking about. In the past when my daughter and her husband were in school my husband and I pretty much watched the girls all the time and we traveled about forty-five minutes each way. When they moved farther away and still needed our help we told them we could only do it if they moved near us, and so they did. Today our babysitting is mostly just once in a while. I promised my daughter that I would be honest with her and I have been. This has worked out for both of us because she doesn’t feel like she’s taking advantage and I feel appreciated. I think you need to have a talk with your son and come to a solution that will work for both of you. If you don’t, there could be trouble in the future.

  5. kerbey says:

    Agreed. I have learned to say no to many good things, so that I may say yes to the best. It’s just like donating to charity; you can’t say yes to all of them. People who get offended by “no” should take a long walk on a short pier.

  6. Inese Poga Art Gallery says:

    Once I moved over to Canada, I noticed that people were often trying to please the other person, they actually were promising a lot, always saying “yes”, agreeing, etc., but so many never did what they said. That was something new to me because I personally never had any problem saying “no” in situations which were such “no” situations. Why would I promise to attend, to go somewhere, to participate, to help if at that moment this was impossible for me to do? I’m not talking about advantage taking, I’m referring to times when somebody is asked a simple question, and their honest “no” would be much more appreciated than “I would love that! Yes, I’m going to be there! I’m going to do this!” I still cannot get used to these polite answers which often mean absolutely nothing, although, I’ve been living here for 11 years now. I really like more the European direct, not always pleasing way. Apart from the other things, I’ve noticed also that many people cannot take any truth, they just cannot face it.

    • Hi, Inese 🙂 Thank you for coming by and sharing your thoughts. I agree with you that the European way of being direct is so much better. And it’s so true that people have such a hard time when you try to be truthful with them. They sometimes just get mad at you and even stop speaking to you! I think people have trouble saying no because they don’t want to hurt the other person, or come off as selfish. Some people just have a way of making it hard to say no–such as at work, and especially family. But like I said in the post, you just have to get rid of the fear and say what is right for you. In the end, being truthful is always better.

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