Why is it so difficult to say no?

May 27, 2021
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

It’s difficult for some of us to say no to requests, especially at work, or if the person has power over us, but effective people say no in order to remain focused on what’s important.

Saying no to something can always be seen as saying yes to something else.

It's easier to realize this when we explain the need we are fulfilling by saying no:

“I would like to help, but I need to focus on…”

“I appreciate your need for…but I really need to...”

What in your interior dialogue is preventing you from saying no?

Maybe saying no to a simple request like “Can you proofread this document?” brings up feelings of guilt or anxiety.

But understanding the unmet needs driving those emotions can help you get those needs met. Maybe saying no to a proofreading assignment causes you guilt and anxiety because it means your need to contribute to the team won’t be met.

But, can you contribute in other ways?

Also, there are probably positive feelings you could experience with that same “no.”

Maybe you could feel relief for not over-committing, or gratitude for having been asked in the first place, or confidence in your abilities to prioritize and stay focused on more important tasks?

Positive feelings are indications that needs are being met.

This is all fine for your internal dialogue, but what about how the other person will receive your “no”?

That’s for tomorrow’s Daily Tip.


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