10 tips to learn to say "no" without feeling guilty

Many people find it almost impossible to say "no" to other people's requests without feeling guilty. Consequently, they end up giving in with a "yes." The most common reasons for this problem are usually not wanting to appear rude or impolite, fear of conflict or rejection, and a strong need to help.

Nevertheless, this way of operating ends up being harmful to health. Therefore, for our well-being, it is vital that we learn to respond with a negative without dying in the attempt.

Knowing how to say "no" without feeling guilty is one of the skills that comprise the assertive behavior. This consists of the ability to express our beliefs, emotions and desires in a friendly, direct way and without disrespecting the rights of others. Here are some tips to help you assertively deny yourself.

Why is it important to learn to say "no" without feeling guilty?

Constantly saying yes out of fear or obligation will end up provoking discomfort, anxiety, stress and frustration. In addition, it implies placing the needs of others above our own, which masks low self-esteem. So perpetuating the behavior will not help strengthen it.

Saying "no" when you really can't or because you don't want to will bring you the following benefits:

  • More time to dedicate to the activities that do matter to you and that bring you closer to your goals.
  • Try new things and discover other interests.
  • Avoid stress That causes overcommitment.
  • Prioritize your things, which will help strengthen your security and self-esteem.
  • You will show yourself stronger and more determined. This image will prevent others from taking advantage of you, assigning you tasks that they can carry out themselves.

Assertiveness implies communicating a negative in the best possible way, respecting the other and oneself.

Also read: Knowing how to say NO is good for your health

Tips to learn to say "no" without feeling guilty

Saying "no" without feeling guilty is a matter of learning. Here's how to do it.

1. Recognize that you have the right to say "no"

This is an essential step to free ourselves from guilt. Start to accept that all human beings have rights and one of them is to be able to say "no". Therefore, this does not imply being selfish, bad person or irresponsible.

2. It is impossible to please everyone

For his part, he recognizes that it is impossible to please everyone. Disagreements and conflicts between people are inevitable and it is not bad that it is so.

On the contrary, that means that each one is a unique and different being. So avoid pleasing others by giving in to their demands. The only one harmed will be yourself.

3. Accept anxiety as part of the process

At first, it is normal for you to feel anxious or upset about saying "no." Therefore, do not make the mistake of answering yes to avoid feeling uncomfortable. Instead, accept that it is part of the process and think that as you put it into practice, the displeasure will lessen.

4. Recognize that you can't do everything

Being unable to say that it does not imply living your own life in the background. That is, spending a large part of the time satisfying the demands of others. Therefore, the ideal is to set priorities.

Also, be aware that the support you want to give must be your own decision, free and without weight. It is possible to be supportive and cooperative without having to say yes to everyone.

5. Pay attention to how you feel when they ask you for a favor

When someone asks you for a favor, it is essential that you check how you feel. If you get stressed, discouraged, or tire you beforehand.

Usually, one can recognize whether or not they are willing to help. If you feel that there is no difficulty and you are delighted with, then there is no problem with you saying "yes".

Otherwise, if you really cannot or do not want to support, the ideal thing is to be firm and refuse. Remember that you are avoiding a major annoyance.

6. If you are not sure, think about it

It is not your obligation to give an immediate answer. If you are not sure you can help, then it is worth taking some time to think about it.

Compromising and then realizing that you don't have enough time will cause further discomfort. In these cases, you can say that you will respond when you are sure you can collaborate.

Discover: 7 moments when a woman should say "no"

7. Avoid ambiguities

Try to give simple, direct and without the possibility of a possible "yes" in the future. If saying no is hard enough, imagine having to say it multiple times.

For your part, avoid excuses or too many explanations. The more arguments you give, the more opportunity others will have to argue and make you believe that their motives are more important than yours. Keep in mind that you do not have to justify your position more than necessary.

8. Make a list of situations in which you can't say "no"

In order of difficulty, make a list of circumstances in which you have a hard time saying no. Then reflect on each one and ask yourself why you gave in, with whom, how you feel, how you would like to have responded.

This will help you better understand the matter and to respond in a more appropriate way on future occasions.

9. Firm body language

Not only is it enough to be firm with wordsbut also with non-verbal language. Some tips to achieve this are to look the person in the eye, avoid crossing your arms, do not play with accessories (watches or necklaces, for example) and keep your limbs steady.

Many times, work stress derives from an overload of tasks due to not knowing how to say “no” on time.

10. Practice possible answers

So that they don't take you by surprise, you can recreate awkward situations in which they ask you for a favor and try to emulate your answers out loud and in front of the mirror. Pay attention to the tone of your voice, the words used, your gestures.

Modify what you think is pertinent. It's about convincing yourself. Some types of responses that you can practice in front of the mirror are the following:

  • Empaths: answering how you would like them to say it to you.
  • Justifications: because now you can't collaborate.
  • Positive: you would love to do it, but it is impossible for you.
  • Maybe another time: You're so sorry, but now is not a good time.

Knowing how to say "no" without feeling guilty implies well-being

Don't forget that saying "no" without feeling guilty is a effective way to build confidence and self-esteem. Also, keep in mind that you are a free person, with the right to choose what you want to do and what not.

Putting yourself as a priority does not mean that you are a bad person or that they will reject you. On the contrary, it makes you someone with criteria and personality. Start today to put it into practice and see for yourself.

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