- Fear of upsetting the other person or being “mean.”
- Fear of the other person getting angry or reactive
- Feeling guilty about taking care of yourself
- Saying yes to get the other person off your back
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“If you are unable to say no, then your yes is not a yes. Saying no is vital to healthy relationships; find the courage to speak it.” ~LMB
Occasionally saying yes to something you do not honestly want to do is okay; after all, relationships are about give and take. Too much giving and agreeing to things for the wrong reason, though, is harmful to you and your relationships. Saying no is not only healthy in life; it is necessary.
Too many people in their struggle to say no, say way too many yeses. The most common “wrong” reasons for saying yes include:
The funny thing about saying yes all the time is that others seldom see your incessant yeses as you being “nice.” Instead, the more difficulty you have saying no, the more disrespect others often have for you. People will naturally start to take advantage of you and push the envelope with their expectations. The more they ask, the more you say yes. The more you say yes, the greater your exhaustion, resentment, overwhelm, depression, and over time—poor treatment. It’s difficult for people to respect you when you don’t respect yourself enough to care for yourself.
Saying yes when you want to say no will get you on the fast-track to resentment. And although you may feel resentment towards others, really the irritation should be towards yourself. It is your job to take care of you. Part of taking care of you is saying no when you need to say no. Your choice to say yes is always your choice. Even when you feel as though others are guilting, pressuring, or bullying you into saying yes, you ultimately are the one responsible for saying no.
Challenge: Pay attention to your reasons for saying yes when you wish you had said no this week. Practice saying no with the safest people on the least serious issues. Be proud of your courage to say no and let go of guilt.