Three tips to help you handle that sense of guilt that arises when we say NO, to a loved one.
Help me Rosmer!
First of all, I want to clarify that the word NO, is a complete sentence, period! Therefore, saying NO should be clearly understood. However, the reality is that this response can certainly cause uncomfortable emotions, both in the one who says it and in the one who is directed to. Let me clarify it is important to understand why it is so difficult for us to say NO, as well as, to invite you to revisit my blog if you want to learn why it is so difficult for us to be receptive to this response. So, moving forward, the reason why it is so difficult to say no, is because we have been programed to say Yes, from a young age. From an early age we are taught that when mom or dad gives an order, our response must be Yes, or we will have very unpleasant consequences. Also, as humans, one of our deepest desire is to belong, be accepted, recognized and to feel like the heroes we believe we are. This is not a bad desire, because all these needs lead to a pleasant emotional state of being. The problem is that when we say yes, simply because we are afraid of feeling guilty, we are committing an act of betrayal towards ourselves. It is important to keep in mind that most of the time we say yes because we do not want to disappoint a loved one. But, not necessarily because we have the desire, nor the time to participate in the request. The sad thing is that if we don’t feel guilty, we end up feeling resentment towards ourselves. This is not healthy for our emotional state of mind. So, either way, we will feel some discomfort. Yet, I assure you that building resentment towards ourselves is more damaging that feeling guilt. So here I share three things one must evaluate before saying Yes.
- Identify if you are saying yes because you do not want to look bad, as you feel you are the only person who can say yes. You are saying yes, because you feel obligated to your friend, or simply because you do not know how to say the scary word NO, without making him/her angry.
- Check your priorities, how will it impact you, to say yes? Will you have to do an unscheduled financial expense, not programed in your budget. Will you have to stop doing something that you already had planned, will you feel satisfied after doing that thing to which you said yes?
- Ask yourself if what you are going to do aligns with your vision of goals, things you want to do less, things you want to do more.
- I would love to participate / help you, but sadly I already have a previous commitment (remember that the commitment is with yourself, if you want to be at home watching television, that’s a commitment) Do not look at wanting to be at home as something less valuable than having a work conference. It is your time and you have the right to use it in a way that fills you.
- Good thing you thought of me, friend, but those kind of activities do not align with the plans that I currently have (remember that if you say yes, it is because you genuinely want to be part of) Don’t just say yes, just because. (remember, your authenticity can be of more value to your friend, than your participation, base on fear.
- Make an offer to do something both of you want to do, and get ready in case your loved one’s response is a NO! (This will allow you to make the connection that saying No, is not synonymous with no longer having a relationship with your loved one, or that you will be perceived in a negative way). Saying No, is simply a way to honor the commitment we have to ourselves. And if our loved ones do not respect this, then we must evaluate our relationships further, and accept them the way they are. Remember we are not responsible for other people’s happiness, especially those whom do not respect our convictions.