Learn to say ‘No’

Many people struggle to say no to friends or at work when they are given additional tasks because we like to please and be seen as capable. But if you have too many demands and no more capacity available you should say no.

Try not to feel guilty because it means that someone else can dedicate the right amount of time and attention to the task. Assertiveness can be used in a variety of ways to confidently and reasonably say “no”.

The effects of not saying “no”
=>> If you always agree to tasks when you actually want to decline then you’re likely to feel angry towards the other person even though they haven’t done anything wrong.
=>> You may become gradually more frustrated with yourself.
=>> By taking on more demands than you can cope with you become overwhelmed and very stressed.
=>> This can all lead to experiencing depression and/or anxiety.

Unhelpful beliefs prevent you from saying “no”
As you grow up your experiences teach you that you can’t always decline requests. You may end up with unhelpful beliefs about saying “no” which increase the difficulty of you saying it. For example, you may think that saying “no”:

=>> Is rude and hostile
=>> Is against my belief of always trying to please everyone
=>> Will upset others
=>> Is nasty and selfish
=>> Will cause them to dislike me

Helpful beliefs
Consider these beliefs if you’ve noticed you experience any unhelpful ones holding you back from declining requests:

=>> By saying “no” I’m declining the request and not rejecting the person.
=>> When I say “yes” to one thing, I’m actually saying “no” to something else.
=>> I have the right to share my opinions even if they differ from others’.
=>> The other person is unlikely to take it badly and they’ll most likely understand.
=>> If people have the right to request, I have the right to decline.

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