All of us are conditioned even since from a very young age to obey and say “Yes” , but psychologists nowadays warn that this can be detrimental to our health later on in adulthood .
Let’s dive into the “NO” zone now !
When is the last time when you answered “No” ?! Have you ever felt that if you say “No” to your family or friends they might think that you are selfish , have a negative attitude , aren’t being nice , or don’t know how to be a good team player ?
For many people , saying “No” can feel like an unacceptable response . “May I borrow some money ?” “Yes” . “Can you coordinate the school program again ? You’ve done such a great job during the past five years !” “Yes.” “May I borrow your car ? I may look like a terrible driver , but that is only with my car.” “Yes.”
However , when it’s used appropriately , saying “No” means something . It’s a clear statement that you – as a separate and unique individual – have personal limits , be they ethical , social , spiritual , sexual , financial , physical , mental , emotional , or professional . These boundaries help you to connect with others and stay safe at the same time .
When you say “No” , you affirm your personal limits clearly and positively . In one setting your statement may announce your integrity , while in another it may shield you from being exploited . If you can never say “No” to anything , it’s possible that you are being controlled by either expectations , family scripts , perceived rules , or threats – whether verbalized or not .
The Power to say “No”
In adulthood , you can never genuinely say “Yes” until you can appropriately say “No” . Negativity is as different from a healthy and functional ability to say “No” as night and day . Negativity is an undesirable mind-set . Think of it as a whining approach to life , a way to avoid making a decision but then complaining about the outcome .
Negativity looks for what is undesirable or focuses on what did not or cannot happen . Sometimes it reflects the person’s attempt to feel better about himself or herself by finding fault with the environment or with the behavior of others . In the end it will sap your energy , diminish the enthusiasm of others , and pretty much ensure that you will never be pleased .
You have however the power to say “No” . It is built in every human brain . However , most of the times many people relinquish their power on others . Individuals ( especially the women ) often are controlled by the word “love” . The more they want love , the more likely they are to give up their power of saying “No” .
Think of the ability of saying “No” as an insurance policy – when prevention and planning are usually so much better than cure .
Where to begin ?
There are several steps that might help you in the process .
Step 1 Say “No” to yourself
You can learn how to say “No” by practicing it first on yourself . Use the same language with yourself . begin at home or when you are doing grocery shopping . Think of two options at a time , and then create opportunities to practice .
Whenever you have a decision to make , ask yourself for example “Do I want to wear jeans or slacks ?” “Do I want asparagus , or broccoli ?” Give yourself always two options , and then answer “No” to one and “Yes” to the other . Make a game of it ( which gradually will be turned into a routine ) . The more fun you have , the better . With time , you’ll become more comfortable using the language with yourself .
Step 2 Use it appropriately with others
Simply put , if you acquiesce to all the requests , you will fail to accomplish your own goals . When the answer needs to be “No” , try to deliver it in the same manner you would want to receive it . Sometimes , you can respond without actually using the word “No” and add it only if your answer appears not to be heard , understood , or accepted .
Some people act hurt or angry when you happen to say “No” . That is because most of the brains want a “Yes” rather than a “No” , so they are having difficulty hearing it . And if the individual perceives that he or she is valuable only when others acquiesce , it can make him or her – and you as well- feel downright uncomfortable .
Step 3 If they won’t take “No” for an answer
Sometimes people keep pushing for what they want , especially when they themselves have poor personal boundaries or any self-esteem issues . If they suggest that you should change your schedule , a simple “No” is sufficient . But if they want you to disclose all the details and reasons , simply repeat calmly that you already have an appointment
The wise advice of a parent to his son or daughter might sound like this : “Unless you’re being cross-examined in Court , you don’t have to answer every question you are asked simply because someone asked it . Live the eleventh commandment , that which reads : “Thou shalt not explain.” “ ( It’s worth taking it into account , but , of course , don’t use it first with your parents , or you’re going to hear that at home you are allowed to learn strategy , but applying it you should grow up and left home first )
Making the decision
Learning how to say “No” is a continual balancing act which involves : evaluating , making choices , following through on your decisions , being able to negotiate , being willing and able to alter your decision if that appears to be the wiser course , and sometimes , just agreeing to disagree .
There are times when you absolutely must take care of yourself and your schedule in order to be able to accomplish your personal goals . At other times , you may prefer a quiet time at home , but your concern for others outweighs that desire . For example , you may choose to fix dinner and take it to a family who has just brought their child home from the hospital , or help a friend move , or choose to read to a vision-impaired shut-in , or spend time with one who has suffered bereavement . Maturity involves being able to find your voice to say “No” as well as to say “Yes”
Do you ever say “No” ?
If your answer is “No” , you might then want to reconsider . Plan ahead , practice , and remind yourself as often as possible that “No” is as well a legitimate response . In some situations , it can be even life saving . And , following that wise advice just mentioned a while ago , not offering an explanation can be all right too !
Teaching a child to say “No”
The words “Options” and “Choices” clearly imply decision making – a key developmental task underlies much of a person’s success in life . The wise parent , caregiver should offer choices very early in life and as often as possible .
Giving only two choices at a time is preferred , since the brain has only two cerebral hemispheres . Almost any two choices will work as long as they’re safe and healthy . This gives the child occasions to practice making choices by saying “No” to one and “Yes” to the other . Here are some examples . :
- “I have water and orange juice . You may choose either one “
- “This morning you can play football or ride the bicycle”
- “Pick either the red top or the blue top ! Your choice .”
- “Would you like me to cut your potato , or will you do it yourself ?”
When the child makes a choice , be sure you follow that choice so he or she learns that there are consequences to making choices .
Sometimes , a child who wants desperately to please or who has learned that it’s unsafe to verbalize personal wishes , will say “I don’t care . You choose” . That is a great opportunity to reply with : “You’re the only person who will be with you for your entire life. It’s important that you learn to take good care of yourself by knowing how to make choices You’re old enough to start now .” and make him or her understand for life this lesson .
It takes courage to offer choices , especially in the short term . At times it may be faster , easier and even stressfree to just tell the child what to do , but that is not helping him or her in the long run ( unless it’s imperative that you , as a parent of caregiver , make the choice deliberately in order to protect the child from an unwise one )