Learn to say “NO”.

I can think about all the things I could have done if I did not agree to run petty errands for my friends when they requested me to do so. Many times I could have said “No” but I did not do so. This led me to thinking about why people agree to do something when in reality they should not agree to do it.  By agreeing to do what the other person asked, they have to delay or even did not get to do what they really want to do.

I can think of the following reasons why most people cannot say “No”:

People like to be appreciated. If we agree to do something for the other person we think that the other person will appreciate us better. If we disagree to the request we feel that it will probably make the other person disappointed. Bu agreeing to the request, we feel that the other person will appreciate us better because we have done something for them.

However, we prefer to think that this feeling is mutual without realizing that the other person may not appreciate us as much as we think. Thus when we ask for a favor in return and the other person did not agreed to return the favor, we feel hurt and unappreciated!

Sometimes the requester could be a person in authority. This is especially true in the work environment. There are many cases of people who cannot seem to finish their work at the end of the day. They spend a lot of time in the office. This could be due to them accepting additional work even when they have a lot of work to do and deadlines to meet.  They cannot seem to be able to manage their time and work schedule. Most of the time they cannot say “No” to their bosses or supervisors.

Some people are “people pleasers”. These people believe that saying “No” can cost a lot to them.  It is very unfortunate that they lack the confidence to say “No”.  They can be very talented people but not being able to say “No” can be a hindrance to their careers and personal development.

If you are a victim of always saying “Yes” when you have always wanted to say “No” then I have a few suggestions for you and I included.

We must practice to say “No” in an affirmative way.

We must remember that it is all right to say “No” to any request that we do not like. It is all right. That is nothing wrong with it. More often than naught, it is ourselves that we are trying to please. We have to put ourselves first. We have to say “Yes” to ourselves first before we can say “No”. The decision is entirely up to us.

When someone makes a request, we can ask to time to consider the request. We can say, “I will think it over.” During that time we can consider that the decision to agree or not is entirely up to us. It is OK to say “No”.

You can look the requester in the eye and shake your head and say “No”. However this needs some practice.

Practice saying “No” as the first word in your sentence. It is easier for you to keep your commitment to say “No” if the first word in the sentence is “No”. The requester might just say “OK” as the requester may not deem it as important anyway.

Here is a real incident that happened a while ago. I hear this from my good friend.

A neighbor wanted to borrow his old van for the evening. My friend is in the landscaping business and he used his van to transport his tools and plants in the course of his work. When my friend asked why he wanted to borrow the van. The neighbor answered that he wanted to transport his garbage to the garbage dump and he did want to use his own car for the purpose.

It is time to take stock and free ourselves from taking on assignments and tasks that we do not really want.  It is time to say “NO” to things that are not important and to say “YES” to things that are really important to us.

If you are like me, I hope that you can tell me something about yourself and how you deal with this problem of not being able to say “No”.