When you are a spiritual, conscious and empathic person who wants to do good in the world it can be hard to say no to people, especially those close to you, but you owe it to yourself and to your wellbeing to sometimes say no.
As a child, most of us were raised to be considerate to others and to accommodate them as much as possible. Unfortunately, this often means we become ‘people-pleasers’ in later life as a way of protecting ourselves from criticism and rejection.
Consider this, are you saying no to yourself by saying yes to others every time?
I grew up with major self-esteem issues due to traumatic experiences as a child and believed I was ‘not good enough’ and it was only after major inner work to develop my self-esteem that I learned how freeing it is to have the confidence to say no when saying yes is not in your best interests.
How do you know when it’s right to say no and what are the effects on you if you always say yes?
Increased Stress Levels
Not being able to say no can greatly contribute to elevated stress levels! Doing too much and feelings of overwhelm cause and add to chronic stress, and people who cannot say no are usually the first to fall victim to stress.
It is important to understand your own boundaries and limitations, and while helping others is important, you have to take care of yourself first.
This means sometimes saying no to friends and family, in order to maintain an optimal level of health and wellness for yourself.
Feelings Of Obligation
This is by far the most common cause of resentment in people since they are feeling “forced” to say yes whether or not they want to. Maybe the person asking did a major favor for you in life and you feel obliged to reciprocate, or maybe it is a close friend or family member and you don’t want to disappoint them.
Perhaps you feel a sense of obligation to always do whatever that person requests of you, but you need to ask yourself whether this is fair and equitable and if their demands are reasonable.
Constantly submitting to other people’s demands builds resentment, and resentment is negative energy that can literally make you physically ill!
You need to let them know you have to put yourself first, by doing what YOU need to do. If the demands continue, it may be best to sever ties and remove a toxic person from your life.
Enabling Bad Behavior
It has happened to all of us before, from a child asking for something, hearing no and then persistently wearing you down, until you say yes.
It may be friends begging you for a loan, to fund their extravagant spending, but while it may seem ok or insignificant at the time, it enables bad behavior and disrespect over the long haul.
I learned the hard way that when I repeatedly ‘rescued’ my teenage daughters from bad situations they had created I was actually condoning their behavior rather than letting them learn from their mistakes.
Consider the consequences to you and the other person and when you decide to say no, it needs to stay that way. You will gain more respect by doing so than if you allow yourself to be manipulated into saying yes in a situation where you know you should be saying no.
Not Speaking Up
There have undoubtedly been times when you keep quiet while something happens or someone does something that is blatantly unfair or unjust, yet you say nothing. I know I have and deeply regretted it afterward.
It may be a boss berating you in the office, a bully, a child being treated badly, or a random stranger who tries to assert their dominance over you. We often fail to say no to this behavior because we want to avoid conflict but by not saying no you can put a serious dent in your self-respect.
By allowing bad behavior, you are enabling that behavior. Open your mouth, speak your truth, demand respect and stand up for what you believe in.
NO is not a bad word. You are not a bad person if you say no! By saying yes to everything you will only end up resenting yourself for being weak, and not ever doing what you want to do by allowing others to always walk over you. You need to look after yourself before you look after anyone else. By having the strength to say no you will earn respect and develop much healthier relationships.