The magic of saying “No”… and sometimes “Yes”

At times do you feel like you have taken on too many commitments and feel spread too thin? Have considered saying “No” at times like that, but find it hard to do? Let’s look at why it can be so hard to say no. Put another way, how do you say no and not feel bad about it?

Saying “No” can trigger all sorts of worried thoughts in your brain, like:

  • I’m missing out
  • I’m being rude
  • I’m letting them down
  • I’m making them angry
  • I’m not meeting my goals

And on and on and on…

Most of the time, none of those are true. One key to success in life and business is to be capable of choosing when to get involved and when to set boundaries.

Examples of when it is OK to say “No”:

  • When you’re stressed or overwhelmed
  • When you’re already doing too much
  • When you’re tired or sick
  • When it’s something you don’t want to do
  • When it takes away from your values and wishes
  • When you deserve or need some time to yourself

Here are some tips to help you when you are saying “No”:

  • Tell the truth: Always find a way to be truthful; an honest and respectful answer to a request ultimately deepens the integrity of a relationship.
  • Timing matters: No does not mean “No forever”. Sometimes you just need time or circumstances to be right, so don’t feel that you are permanently shutting out a goal or a person if you say no at a given moment.
  • Stay firm: People who are used to relying on you saying “Yes” will often try to persuade you. Don’t get drawn into elaborate discussion. Just repeat your no and have short phrases or a sentence ready that honestly explain your decision, for example: “I’m unavailable because my family needs me”; “I can’t right now because I am swamped with other commitments”; “It is not the precise area where I choose to put my efforts right now”.

Saying “No” does not mean you are selfish or lazy. It means you are setting boundaries, which is vital in our busy world. And strange as it may seem, this can be a help to other people as well, when they observe how you take care of your own needs.

And by saying “No” you make space for more “Yes”—to the things you really want to say “Yes” to.

Both “Yes” and “No” have magic within them, allowing us to fully respond to each situation in life. It is about being able to choose what we want.

Ask yourself at each moment of decision, what do I really want and need? Then courageously state your ‘Yes” or “No” and watch the magic happen.