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Saying No to Others

Last week we talked about learning to stop saying “no” to yourself, your happiness, and your success. This week I want to talk about how to start saying “no” to others and how that will help you achieve your success and happiness.

So many of us want to be liked. We want to make others happy and we believe that if we are liked and if we make others happy we ourselves will be happy, but this is not the case. Often what we do in order to be liked and make others happy is to say “yes” to everyone and what they ask of us. But what we don’t realize is that by saying “yes” to everyone we are telling ourselves “no”. When we put other’s needs before our own, we are not on the path to happiness but on the path of disappointment, discontentment, and unhappiness.

In order to get onto the path where we are happy and successful, we have to learn to start telling ourselves “yes” by telling others “no”. My telling others “no” you are setting your expectations, you are setting boundaries, and you are setting yourself up for happiness. Telling people “no” is hard. We feel that if we tell “no” to someone in our personal lives that they will get mad at us, they will get angry, and they may stop liking us. We also feel that if we say “no” to people in our professional lives our careers could be negatively impacted, we could lose out on opportunities, or we could be disliked.

Let’s look at this for a moment in the personal realm. Do you really want to be in relationships with people who will get angry if you tell them “no”? If one or two “no’s” is going to cause a friend, a partner, or a family member to get angry with you or dislike you, it might mean you need to start reassessing who you want and have in your life. Friends, partners, and family members should want you to be happy, they should want you to do the things that you want to do, and should be understanding when you tell them “no”. If they are not, this is a great time to have a conversation with them. Explain to them by saying “no” to them that you are not saying “no” to your friendship, commitment, or love for them, you are just not able or willing to do what they have asked of you and that is that.

Another important thing to note when learning to say “no” to people in your personal life is not providing an excuse or explanation. When you tell someone “no” that is it. NO. If you provide an excuse or explanation you are giving that person a chance and space to ask what they want in another way. When saying “no” you have to be honest. Don’t make excuses or lies about why you cannot do something. If you don’t want to do something or cannot do something just say I “no”. Believe me, people will be more upset that you lied to them then if you just told them “no”.

The professional realm is a little different then the personal realm when it comes to saying “no”. In the professional realm it is ok to say “no” to some things but it has to be done with tact and with reasoning. In the professional realm you can’t just say “no” because you don’t feel like doing something. Using “no” in the professional realm comes into play when you are dealing with balancing priorities and doing what is best for the company and the customer. Saying “no” in the professional realm needs reasoning and explanation behind the “no” as you were hired and are being paid to do what is best for the company and it’s customers. Something that also happens when you learn to say “no” in the work place is that your management will trust and respect you for being willing to not be a “yes” person. They will trust you because you are honest and are willing to stand out and stand up for what is possible, what is right, and what should be done to further the business. Being able to say no to your management staff or supervisor is not easy, but the outcome is worth it.

Saying “no” is hard but it can be a little easier if you think about every time you are saying “no” to something you don’t want to do, you are saying “yes” to yourself and your happiness.

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