Fear of Saying No

Image by Mona Benjamintz

Fear of Saying No

When someone asks for your time and energy, do you find yourself saying yes even when you’d rather not? Do you find it difficult to say no? Where does this fear of saying no come from?

Beliefs that we have about ourselves and our place in the world fuel our behaviour.

What assumptions or beliefs do you hold that make it hard for you to say no? Do you think that the person may be upset or disappointed if you say no to them? Do you feel it’s up to you to protect them from those feelings? Do you believe that in order to be a ‘nice’ person, you need to consistently put others’ needs ahead of your own?

There are downsides to always saying yes.

If you find yourself feeling resentful when you say yes when you otherwise would like to say no, this can erode the quality of your relationships. If you’re looking to others for approval by way of you saying yes, this puts you in a position of needing to give up something in order to feel worthy.

 “But I’ve always said yes”, is not reason enough to continue the pattern.

If you’re used to saying yes, saying no may feel uncomfortable. How about “let me get back to you”, or, “that won’t work for me today”, or “maybe another day”? These can be helpful phrases to use as you work your way toward a more direct “no”.

“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind.” — Dodinsky

Sure, it’s nice to be able to help out and say yes – but be careful that when you’re saying yes to someone else, you’re not simultaneously saying no to yourself. Finding a balance between serving others and serving yourself can help you both build community and support your own goals. You’ve only got one life to live. Be careful with what you give away.

Fear of Saying No

Image by Mona Benjamintz

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