Something that I am finding helpful for me is teaching myself how to say no: no to others when I don’t have the strength to do something for them, no to situations I shouldn’t involve myself in because I am not in a good state of mind to cope with it, and no to myself when I feel the urge to treat my depression and bad feelings with unhealthy coping skills (mine being drinking alcohol.) It’s a difficult thing to do for some people. A lot of times it comes down to the fact that we feel bad for saying no. Such a tiny word, only two letters, can be daunting. According to Vanessa Bohns, Ph.D., a professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University, “We have an instinctive need for connection to other people—it’s essential to our survival. We worry that saying no will break these bonds.” When we say no, a lot of times it brings up negative emotions like embarrassment or guilt- so we usually say yes, even though we don’t want to. And if you’re like me and have anxiety, the answer you give can leave you reeling for hours or days on end. For me, if I say no to something, I’ll send myself into a tizzy trying to justify it: “Oh I said no because I am busy then,” or “Well I said no because I don’t feel well today.” But then I will try to reargue against myself, thus leading myself to feel bad about that no. So I have found a list of the ways to say a healthy, and needed NO! These have helped me, and could help you! So check it out!
1. Be clear of your vision.
Make a vision of where you see yourself in your own life. What are you willing to accept or not accept, your beliefs, and your core values. What is healthy for you to say yes to? What isn’t? Once you do this, if saying yes to that thing does not match up in your vision, say NO!
2. Know the implications of saying yes.
The more you say yes, the further you drift away from your vision.
3. Realize saying no is okay.
This one has always been a tough one for me like I said above, I will beat myself to death for saying no to something, question whether it was the right thing to do. So the best way I can look at it is, if the first response that pops into your head is no, then there doesn’t have to be justification! That’s justification enough! And it’s okay!
4. Use the medium you’re most comfortable with.
Saying no to someone in person can be tough, so if you’re more comfortable with another form of communicating that no, then do it. Email, Facebook, text message–whatever works for you! And then the more you say no, the easier it will become, and maybe one day you will be able to do it face-to-face.
5. Keep it simple.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation!
6. Be respectful.
Value the other party’s stance on things.
7. Provide an alternative.
But only if you want to!
8. Make yourself less accessible.
Provide your contact only to those who are important to you. Don’t overstretch yourself when you’re healing!
9. Write everything down first.
This can help slow your thoughts down and process them better! As an avid journaler, I do this constantly.
10. Delay your response.
You don’t have to give an immediate answer! Say something like “I’ll get back to you on that,” or “Do you mind if I think about it?” and then take your time to think it over, and THEN answer.
11. Sometimes, no reply is also a form of reply.
This one I think explains itself!
I hope some of these things may help you all! You’re beautiful, and you’re a work of art in progress. There’s no need to spread yourself so thin. BE KIND TO YOURSELF!!