Boundaries – 5 Tips on how to say “NO”
One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr quotes is the following:
“…a lot of people don’t love themselves. And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts… you must love yourself. And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself.”
This quote reminds me that it’s important to love my self enough not only to accept myself but also to create boundaries in my life. The best way I’ve found to create healthy boundaries is by effectively using the most powerful 2-letter word in the English language, the word “NO”.
We’ve all been there. Someone asks you to do something and you reluctantly say “yes”, when inside you’re screaming, “NO, NO, NO”. When we’re constantly told that we need to be nice and supportive, it can be tough to figure out how to politely decline anything.
Here are some helpful tips for saying “NO”
1. Be selective.
Your time is limited and you can’t spend it on everything so you must be selective. Understand that saying yes to someone or something ultimately mean saying no to someone or something else. Love yourself enough to prioritize your time and be sure you’re saying yes to you first.
2. Be Direct.
Use words such as “no, I can’t” or “no, I don’t want to.” Don’t apologize and give all sorts of reasons. Don’t lie. Lying will most likely lead to guilt—and remember, this is what you are trying to avoid feeling. Love yourself enough to say no now than be resentful later.
3. Be courteous.
When saying “no”, you don’t have to be rude. You can be polite but firm. For example, you can say “Thanks for asking, but I am not available that day”. Once you’ve replied politely, and then love yourself enough to stand your ground.
4. Put the question back on the person asking.
This is highly effective in a work situation when dealing with someone in a position of authority. Let’s say your boss is asking you to take on several tasks–more than you can handle and is giving you an unrealistic deadline. You might say, “I’m happy to help in any way I can; however, I would need three weeks, rather than two, to do a good job. How would you like me to prioritize them?”
This technique puts it back on the person asking to give you the permission to prioritize the tasks in a way that will help you.
5. Practice saying no.
Imagine a scenario and then practice saying no either by yourself or with a friend. This will get you feeling a lot more comfortable with saying no. Don’t say “I’ll think about it” if you don’t want to do it. This will just prolong the situation and make you feel even more stressed.
Remember that your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for other people. You self worth depends on your assessment of yourself. Love yourself enough to create boundaries in your life so that your “yes” can be a true yes and your “no’ a true no.
Learning to say no is my motto for 2020. Not only is it challenging me to overcome my fear of rejection, it is also helping me to feel more empowered and free.
If you want that same feeling of freedom and empowerment, then love yourself enough to take control, challenge yourself, and learn to say, “NO”.
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