Just say no! Do you ever find yourself saying yes when you truly want to say no? Why is it so difficult to say no? It’s just a word, right? If you are going to have relationships that are fulfilling and healthy, you will have to get to the place where you can say no when no is the right answer. I talk about this so often in coaching sessions with my clients because it is a common and serious issue to preventing healthy relationships.
There are so many reasons why people say yes when they truly want to say no.
Sometimes, people feel they have to please everyone so they say yes and end up resentful and stressed out because of it.
Sometimes, people say yes because their greatest fear is rejection. They have the mindset that if they say no, they will disappoint someone, make them angry, hurt their feelings, or appear unkind or rude.
But the most common reason people avoid saying no is that they will feel guilty.
If you can almost never say no to a person—your boss, spouse, or friend—without feeling terrible afterward, then that means you have a hard time prioritizing your needs over the needs of others. It also means you have learned how to guard your heart.
God doesn’t want our hearts to grow resentful, and be full of bitterness, guilt, or frustration. He said in Proverbs 4:23 to guard our hearts for out of them flow the issues of life. Part of guarding our hearts is having healthy boundaries, and saying no when no is the answer that will protect our hearts from negative emotions.
You should say yes when you feel that’s the right answer for you—and likewise, you should feel just as comfortable saying no when that is the right answer for you. If you’re always saying yes because you’re afraid to say no, then it’s time to take action and learn how to say no without feeling guilty. It’s time to learn how to guard your heart.
One of the big reasons people can’t say no without feeling guilty is because they feel that they’re being selfish for turning down people who need their help, but it’s important to acknowledge that you can’t do everything. The result of saying yes to everyone already may have left you trapped with almost no time for yourself or the people close to you. If that’s your situation, practice saying no to some things so that you can say yes to other things that are more important to you.
Remember that you can’t please everyone. Acknowledging that it’s impossible to please every person in your life and that you have to draw the line somewhere is important and healthy. Yes, you might feel tempted to think you will disappoint someone if you say no and in the process lose their respect. But, I think more often than not, you will find the opposite is true. When we have healthy boundaries in our lives and keep our priorities right, it actually causes people to respect us more.
So start practicing saying no more often—and enjoy the freedom that comes from prioritizing your family, friends, decisions and time the way you really want.