Do you have trouble saying NO?


Standing up for you is not always easy, but what people fail to understand is that they are just damaging themselves in more ways than one.

Saying YES when you really want to say NO can often leave you feeling:
• Exhausted
• Over-worked
• Powerless
• Resentful
• Pushed around
• Bossed about
• Like a mug
• Like a doormat
• Weak or out of control
• Angry with yourself
• Disappointed
• Abused

Do you ever ask yourself why do you do it?

It’s simply a learned or conditioned pattern of behaviour that started when you were a child. Even though NO was probably one of the first words you learned as a child, it can become one of the hardest words to say as an adult. We can become so anxious or concerned about refusing a request, as it might cause friction or disputes, which you start to say YES in order to please and pacify others. It then becomes an instinctive response, even a habit when you are asked, and leaves you wide open to other people’s demands, wants, fancies and desires.
You can learn to say NO and take back control.

You can learn new patterns of behaviour that will help you deal with difficult situations, take back control and empower you to become assertive, happy and confident.

How you might ask?

Obviously, you could talk to a therapist who offers CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help you challenge your behaviour through various techniques, but there is one simple thing you might like to try that has four simple steps and all you need is a pen and paper and some time to think.

Step 1 – Start by writing a list of times when you said YES when you really wanted to say NO. You don’t have to write a long list of times to make you feel worse than you already do, just write a few examples to highlight the situation and your behaviour.

Step 2 – Now look at each example and ask yourself why you said YES?

Some of these scenarios are what clients have shared with me:
I was just feeling guilty or worried about letting someone down?
It was a work situation and a job that was not mine but was not done by someone else?
I was asked to cover duty for someone that didn’t show up at work?
I just wanted to please someone else?
It was because I have to work with them again?
I didn’t want to let a friend down?
My boss might of thought I was unhelpful or lazy.
Do they sound familiar?

Steps 3 – Now think about how you could have said NO.
Write it down and get straight to the point, keep it brief.
Never start by apologising for saying NO as this is passive and gives the impression that the other person has more power than you.
Remember you do have the right to say NO.
You do have a life of your own.

Step 4 – Practice makes perfect. So try it out.
Take your time to answer.
Think about your options and what is good for you, instead of just saying YES and then repressing it.
Do what you have written in step 3 on how you could have said NO.
Taking back control will leave you feeling empowered, equal, assertive and in control of your life.


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