How to Say No Freely
Mar 14, 2016 10:07AM ● Published by Caitlin Marshall
Saying no to requests can be difficult if you like to please. You want people to approve of you and don't want to offend them. However, there are times when you would prefer to politely refuse their demands. Further, you have a niggling feeling that it's your right to choose how you spend your time and that you shouldn't need to explain; making excuses as to why you don't want to do their bidding. The notion that your time is being encroached upon makes you resentful, burns positive energy, and leaves you drained. If you knew how to say no freely, you could spend time as you wished, and when you did give time away, you would do so with a happy heart.
Saying no means you are respectful of your feelings in the moment. Rather than saying yes and being annoyed about having done so, you say that you would rather not do as asked. Informing someone that you prefer not to agree with a request may seem harsh—shocking, even. You live in a society where admitting you have personal needs you want to fulfill before fulfilling those of others is frowned upon. Nonetheless, going against your own wishes to meet unwanted demands leaves a sour taste in your mouth; negativity builds and you are unable to give freely. When you say no, without making up excuses or apologizing, you are empowered because you have been honest. There are no lies to continue, since you haven't pretended you need to be somewhere else or do something more important. Additionally, you gain confidence when you claim your space and time as your own instead of giving it away.
Taking that step—saying no without blushing or fumbling to remove unease—requires steadiness and poise. You have to deliver your answer to the request with a calm, even tone that cannot be mistaken for displeasure. After all, you are not upset about having been asked to do something. You merely want to turn down the request in an easy way. In addition, it's best not to make promises you don't want to keep. Blurting out that you will do this or that on another occasion, when you don't want to, won't help your cause. Saying what you want clearly and accurately will allow you to experience relief instead of discomfort.
The experience of wanting to say no, but not wanting to at the same time, stems from fear of being judged and letting people down. Truly, though, you let people down and leave yourself open to harsh judgment when you say yes unwillingly. If you resentfully carry out a demand made by someone your energy is negative, and underneath their satisfaction at having their needs met, people have a sneaking suspicion that all is not well with you. They know you haven't given freely and this makes them feel guilty. Secretly, they not only feel bad about themselves, but they also feel bad about you not having been openhearted as you carried out their wishes. The thought that life would have been more pleasant if you had enjoyed doing the request crosses their mind. The result of the transaction is dissatisfaction and disappointment and no one is completely satisfied. Occasionally, someone may be blind to your resentment, but the outcome is equally negative as they feel free to make more requests on other occasions. You become a doormat on which they wipe their feet, imagining that you are enjoying the process while you inwardly groan.
Once you realize the negative intricacies of meeting requests you prefer to turn down, you have strength behind your motivation to say no. Understand that giving only when you want to do so brings about freedom, honesty and happier transactions, gives you the confidence to speak honestly.