There are few singular words that have the power to build self-belief and create real positive change but you might be surprised to hear that ‘No’ is actually one of them.
Saying no to the things that don’t bring you joy or aren’t aligned to your values can give you a real sense of power and build unshakeable confidence, however you’ll probably find that you don’t say it nearly enough.
‘Would you do this?’ ‘Can you do that?’ ‘Shall we go here?’ Saying no to any of these types of questions can leave you feeling guilty, and often so much so you end up saying ‘Yes’, ‘Sure’, ‘Totally’, just to avoid feeling bad about uttering that one simple word, No. Because if you’re like me, you’re probably a bit of a people pleaser that doesn’t like to let people down.
But what if by saying ‘Yes’ when you’d really like to say ‘No’ is letting yourself down?
Think about it, how many times have you gone along with a plan or agreed to do something you don’t want to do, just to please another person? Or how often have you felt unwell and still dragged yourself out to some sort of event you have no interest in just to avoid upsetting someone?
Quite a few times I bet, and I’m totally with you, I’ve done it countless times too. But when you really think about it, has that selfless ‘yes’ left you feeling upbeat, confident and good about yourself or just flat and perhaps even a little resentful? If it’s the latter, I hear you! So why do you do it? Here’s a little science:
Being a people pleaser is really about wanting to belong. Back in the tribal days, in order to survive you would form groups to split out the work, pool resource and ultimately protect each other from predators. The danger of not being accepted by that person or group could leave you vulnerable and alone, and potentially likely to be eaten by a saber toothed tiger.
Now whilst there may not be human-hungry carnivores roaming the streets looking for their next meal, humans still have a need to feel accepted in order to feel safe. And the easiest way to feel accepted is to do something to please that other person or group, even if it’s at the expense of your own desires. But maybe it's time you changed that narrative.
Because you are a strong, confident female who doesn’t need to do things you don’t want to, just to feel liked or accepted.
By saying ‘No’ to something you don’t want to or can’t do, you’re being strong, honest, and protecting your precious time. You’re also demanding a respect for your boundaries and showing that your confident enough to put your own happiness and fulfilment comes first. And that isn’t a bad thing, because on those occasions you do say yes (because you want to) you’ll find you’re all in, fully committed and present – making you much better company and more likely to get the job done well.
Saying ‘No’ when you feel like you should say ‘Yes’ is great for your wellbeing too. Instead of feeling miserable and stressed when you eventually have to go to that dreaded event (and ultimately end
up hating it like you just knew you would) you’ll feel empowered and energised knowing know you’ve chosen to prioritise yourself and have used your energy in the best way that brings you joy. You’ll also steadily build your self-worth and confidence to stand by your values and what’s important to you. And that is something you should feel so darn good about.
So next time you’re faced with an ask of your attention/money/presence (anything that requires a personal commitment you’re not sure you want to commit to) really think about what it might do for you. Will it:
Bring you happiness or joy because it really resonates with you?
Allow you to feel fulfilled or energised
Teach you new skills or introduce you to new people that will benefit you?
If you can’t say yes to any of the above, perhaps it’s time you put yourself first and start finding the power in saying ‘No’. xx
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