I really admire the types of women who aren't afraid to stand up for them themselves. Who can say what they feel kindly but without worrying what people think about them. Who aren't afraid to go against the grain and say "no" when everyone else says "yes".
Saying no is, historically, something I have been downright awful at!
I don't know about you but the need to be liked and the craving to feel a sense of belonging has, at times, led me to say "yes", when I should totally have said "no".
If there is such a thing as a "people pleaser" it was me and unfortunately there were times when this landed me in hot, hot water!
Which is part of the reason why saying "no" when it's appropriate and prioritising self-respect is so important to me now.
A friend once gave me a really valuable piece of advice. He said, "Don't ever apologise for being you. There are 7.5 billion people on this planet who aren't always going to think, do or want the same thing. How beautiful!"
Following your heart and doing what you feel is best for you is the kindest thing you can do for yourself as it comes from a place of self-respect and love. And, although some people might resist hearing you saying "no", a true friend will accept your choices and support you regardless.
Advice for saying no, with confidence:
1. You don't need to over-explain yourself
A few simple sentences that are totally ok to respond with:
"Thanks for the offer, I will check my schedule and get back to you."
"I appreciate the offer but it doesn't feel right for me/it's not my thing."
"I'm feeling in need of some "me" time right now, so I will pass today. Thank you."
"Thanks, but I really don't feel like it today."
"Thank you but I don't drink/smoke/do that" or "Thank you but I've had enough."
"I have a lot on at the moment and if I say yes, I think I will be overloaded and not be able to give all of myself to ... so I'm going to have to pass."
"I'm flattered that you're interested in me but it just doesn't feel right for me."
2. It's all in the delivery!
If you say what you want to with kindness, warmth and confidence (even if it's a false confidence at first!) people are less likely to question your decision or try to pressure you. They are also less likely to be offended if you are straight up with them. And of course, it's so important to deliver the message with warmth and kindness.
3. They might be upset and that's your time to shine
Part of saying "no" is learning how to feel confident and compassionate if the other person gets disappointed/upset. Some people won't like your choices and it's NOT your job to convince them or persuade them to agree with you. Be understanding and kind but know that their reaction is actually to do with THEM, not you.
If it continues you might need to say something like, "You know, your friendship is really important to me and I find it difficult that you try to pressure me towards things that I don't want to do. Could you please try to be more supportive?"
4. Accept your friends when they say no
I find it so important not to judge others - for anything, but especially - for favouring something different to me. I am a vegetarian but if someone else prefers to eat a burger, I really don't mind one bit!
Just like you can say "no" to something that doesn't feel right for you, try to give your friends and family that same space to do the same!
When they see how you accept them they will be more likely to offer you that same courtesy, too.
5. Practice makes perfect
I know, it's not easy. I get you. But the more you practice saying no, the easier it becomes. Each time you do it, it strengthens you and gives you confidence for the next time, and the next. Deliver it clearly and with a confident and kind energy and it will just keep getting easier and easier. Promise xx
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