Learning the art of saying NO is a huge gift that you can give to yourself. So, let's begin: How do you say NO?
Here is the better question:
Why are you saying YES to situations, people or experiences that don’t feel right or serve you?
Learning how to say NO, without feeling guilty or bad is such an important habit to learn in order to feel free and balanced. I use the word habit very consciously here. Generally, the ways that you act and behave are habits that can be changed with some focus and work. A huge part of the equation that is needed for change is your want and choice to change. If you have the awareness of what you are doing that is not working for you combined with the want to change, boom, you’ve got it. Change can happen.
First off, recognize that you are ahead of the game by having the knowing and awareness that saying NO is an issue for you. Feel proud of yourself for this awareness because this points toward your level and ability to be self aware. Bravo.
Now that you are aware of the issue, it’s time to consciously make the choice that you are going to begin to say NO to people, situations or experiences that just don’t feel right. This means a variety of things. It means that you have the choice and right to say NO even when you don’t have anything going on and are 100% available. There are no rules around saying NO. The focus is more about YOU and how you feel rather than what “you think you should” do or what others want you to do.
It’s your job to evaluate the consequences and importance of the opportunities that cross your path. Even if you really want to say YES, sometimes you have to weigh the expense of saying YES. Asking yourself some key questions can be helpful: Do I have time for this? Do I have the energy for this? Is saying YES to this going to take away from something else that is important for me? The point being is that your choice to say NO is never wrong. It’s your choice. It’s not to be judged or disrespected, which leads to the next blurb.
It’s common to get a reaction when you start saying “NO” to people who are used to you saying “YES.” My hunch is that people who are not used to you saying NO will generally not enjoy being said NO too. In their minds, you are a person who says YES. It’s a dynamic and habit that has been formed in your unique relationship, but it can be altered. Here is where the game can majorly change. If you and a relationship in your life can get through the period of change together, this can bring your relationship to another level. It says a lot about both parties when two people are willing to change and be flexible in order for a relationship to grow.
There is the reality that when you stand up for yourself and honor yourself by saying NO, that some relationships in your life won’t “fit” anymore. WARNING: This is NOT a bad thing. It’s not a negative thing if people walk away from you when you choose to honor yourself. On the contrary, it’s actually very telling and really good information for you to know about another person. People who don’t support you when you’re doing something positive and healthy for yourself are not individuals who are helping you to grow. I will not deny that this can be really hard, but it also has the capacity to be very freeing at the same time.
Standing strong and owning your ability to say NO is huge. It can really change your life personally and improve your relationships.
Saying NO to people and events is, simultaneously, saying YES to yourself. Choose YOU!
* This photo was taken on my travels to Hong Kong. This infamous "Big Buddha" is located on Lantau Island North of Hong Kong.