The Importance of Saying No

If you are the kind of person who finds it difficult to reject others, fret not, for you are not alone. Many people face this problem. However,  whether because of the guilt that is felt when rejecting others, or because of the need to be polite and a good person, being unable to say no, having an obsessive desire to please everyone, can be detrimental to one’s mental and emotional well-being – physical too, if it is not addressed in time. Why? An inability to reject others inevitably leads to one being swamped, buried, by commitments, most of which cannot be fulfilled. And if left unfulfilled, one’s reward will be nothing less than ire from those who were promised a job done. Learning to say no is thus essential if one does not want life of stress, burden, remorse, and resentment.

In a team, learning to say no is especially important, as accepting superfluous commitments may lead to the neglect of other vital projects which the team has under its wing. Thus, here are some tips for you to help you say no:

  1. Keep things organised. One of the main reasons why people fail to say no is that they fail to realise what commitments they have already made and to whom. Thus, to mitigate this, it is always good to keep a calendar or schedule ready at hand, where every commitment is recorded on paper in pen. By being organised, and keeping track of one’s commitments, it makes it easier when someone makes a request to say “Sorry, I have this-and-this to do for so-and-so on this date, and I really can’t help you.”
  1. Say ‘No’ without saying “No.” ‘No’ may in and of itself be a complete sentence, but it leaves listeners feeling bitter and dissatisfied – which is where the guilt of rejecting others stems from. Thus, to prevent this from occurring, offer alternatives. For instance, try scheduling the request in, but at another date and time as is more convenient for you. Check out this website for more ideas on how to reject requests graciously.
  1. If necessary, practice! Rejecting a request can still be difficult even if one has completely valid reasons to do so. Usually, it has to do with personal inhibitions. Whether because of lessons inculcated from young, or because of societal values, it is helpful to break free of these inhibitions. The easiest method by far is to practice. Use a mirror and say it to yourself; do it in low-risk circumstances such as when a street vendor approaches. Do it as often as possible and you will be prepared for the next time you need to reject someone.

Remember, life needs balance, and learning to say “No” not only keeps stress at bay, it helps to prevent the fruition of unrealistic expectations.

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