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How to say “no”. The importance of being honest with ourselves and the people surrounding us!

“No, I will not be able to.” Many people find it extremely difficult to indicate or say “no”. Especially when the recipient of the refusal is a close friend or a beloved person. Behind someone’s difficulty in saying “no”, most often lies the fear of disappointing others, becoming unpleasant, or being rejected. Even worse, many people assume that saying “no” will unsettle the relationship, signifying estrangement which may lead to an end. For this reason, not a few people are taught to be people-pleasers and say “yes” automatically, even when they actually prefer to say no.

Positive answers always sound pleasant; it is a fact. They involve consensus and interaction. However, is it true that saying “yes” is the only way to be liked by others? Moreover, what is more important? Trying constantly to be pleasing to others or being honest with ourselves and attuned to our desires?

How to say "no"
The importance of setting limits

To begin with, it is essential to dissipate a misconception; denial is an honest and fruitful response that does not imply rejection. As easily as we say “yes”, exchange information, share experiences and express our feelings, that easily we should indicate “no”.

In other words, by refusing to do something or participate in an activity or an event, we are not rejecting a friend, relative, or partner. Saying no suggests that we feel comfortable and free to express our opinion without having to apologize or search for excuses. Besides, every “no” we say provides our people with the opportunity to get to know us better, understand our behavior, and finally choose to interact with us for who we really are. No one -not even our closest friends- is obliged to guess what we are thinking, what we plan to do, expect, desire, or fancy doing. It is undoubtedly our responsibility to communicate our intentions calmly and – most importantly – guilt-free.

Practicing in giving “no” answers and setting limits is a great achievement that will help us to balance our lives and overcome stress. Besides, it will protect us from uncomfortable interactions, giving us the ability to say “yes” to other activities or people with whom we feel more in tune at the time. Consciously and responsibly saying “no” to one thing means saying yes to another.

How to say “no”

While “yes” may be socially valued most of the time, we must above all learn to respect our own boundaries and say “no” to protect our emotional well-being.

It is crucial to be clear about what we want to communicate. Nothing is forbidden in communication, whether it is positive or negative. All words can be spoken, if said respectfully. Speaking about denial, it is better to be indicated with politeness, firmness, and argument. There is no need for evasion, excuses, or hesitation. We openly and calmly say “no” and, if possible, we make an alternative proposal, thus showing that the fact that we are unable to respond positively to a particular invitation does not mean that we are devaluing the person with whom we are interacting.

It is important to show respect, make concessions, and compromise for our relationships, yet it is equally important to take time to connect with ourselves and respect our own feelings. Taking care of and pleasing our beloved people is amazing. But taking care of ourselves is way more beautiful. So, let’s fearlessly commit to what makes us happy!

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