Learn the skill of saying ‘no’
By ANEESA MOIDOO, PSYCHOLOGIST
I am 34 -year-old adult. Lately, I am taking up a lot of things that I can avoid or delegate but I am not being able to do so. This is making me take a lot in my plate and feeling exhausted.
Thank you for the question. A lot of people struggle with this issue. Some of the most common reasons for this include: Fear of rejection or conflict. You may worry that by saying no, the other person will be angry, disappointed, or upset.
You may also worry that they will think less of you or that it will damage the relationship. You also may have a strong need to be liked and accepted by others ending in saying yes to requests even when you don’t have the time, energy, or resources to do them.
Guilt is another barrier from saying no, especially if the person asking for our help is someone we care about. You may worry that we are being selfish or that we are letting them down.
Similarly, perfectionism is a road blocker. You may feel like you have to say yes to every request in order to be perfect or to live up to your own high standards. A lack of clear boundaries in our lives also can make it difficult to say no to requests from others.
This leads to taking on too much, resulting in stress, burnout, and resentment. It is important to remember that it is perfectly okay to say no to requests, even if it comes from someone you care about.
You have the right to protect your time, energy, and resources. A few tips that you can practice for yourself is initially be direct and assertive. Don’t beat around the bush or offer excuses. Simply say “no” in a firm but polite way.
You can give a brief explanation if you feel comfortable. This doesn’t mean you have to justify yourself, but it can help the other person understand your decision. For example, you could say something like, “I’m sorry, but I’m too busy this week” or “I’m not comfortable doing that.”
Most importantly set boundaries... Let people know what you are willing and not willing to do. Be firm in your boundaries, and don’t let people pressure you into saying yes. For example, you could say something like, “I’m happy to help you with that, but I can only spare an hour” or “I’m willing to do that, but I need your help with something else in return.”
Practice saying no. The more you say no, the easier it will become. Start by saying no to small things, and gradually work your way up to bigger requests. Saying no can be difficult, but it is an important skill to learn.
By following the tips above, you can learn to say no in a way that is both assertive and respectful. If you find it difficult to say no, it may be helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor. They can help you identify the underlying reasons why you have difficulty saying no and develop strategies for overcoming them.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daily Tribune)