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30th Jun 2012

Why Saying No Can Be a Very Good Thing

When was the last time you said no to someone else's demands on your time? Ladies, it's time to reclaim the power of those two little letters...

When someone asks you for a favour, what’s your first reaction? Are you crippled with guilt if you don’t say yes immediately? Ladies, you are definitely not alone.

You see, there’s something of an epidemic within the female population. The vast majority of us have trouble with a certain word. This word seems like a fairly easy one to say. It has two letters and it isn’t one of those words that you’d get in trouble for if you said it in front of your Granny. Women:  that word is ‘no.’

It’s such a simple word, but no matter how self-assured we are, most of us have trouble saying it even at times when it is perfectly ok to do so.

Being a modern woman is hard – we have so much stuff to juggle on a daily basis. We have families to look after, friends to take care of, relationships that need time and careers that need some serious hard graft.  We have to keep all these things running smoothly.

Yet, despite this, we’re constantly putting pressure on ourselves to do favours for others and to give up our time to people who demand (but don’t necessarily deserve) it.

For years we’ve always assumed that the word ‘no’ has some severely negative connotations. We feel guilty if we say it. We feel as if we shouldn’t say it. But if you start using this word a little bit more, your life could change drastically.

It’s all about being assertive.

What is assertiveness?

Assertiveness is something that every woman should keep in her handbag – what we mean is, it’s something you’ll probably be using a lot. Assertiveness isn’t about being mean or aggressive, or screaming “NO!!!” when someone asks you if they can borrow your pen. It’s about knowing what you want, standing up for yourself and refusing to let other people waste your time.

How can you be more assertive?

Sit down and have a think about your life. Are there certain people in your social circle who continually waste your time or guilt trip you into doing something for them?

What about that work colleague who’s always getting you to exchange stuff for her in town because she simply can’t make it in herself? What about that friend who forces you into a yoga class that you absolutely hate twice a week?

You’ll probably be able to think of a few examples of where people are stopping you from spending time doing what you want with your life.

Start saying ‘no’ to demands on your time.

It’s as simple as that. Find power in the word. Use it and become familiar with it – then all feelings of guilt associated with the word will disappear for you.

Now we don’t mean saying no to everyone – occasionally you will have to do something you don’t necessarily want to do for a family member, for example, offering to go grocery shopping for your Mother. We’re talking about only saying no to the people who really take advantage of you.

Say no to the boss who expects you to stay an extra three hours daily without a pay increase.

Say no to the friend who constantly asks for favours but never offers any in return.

Say no to the colleague who’s always asking you to babysit her kids.

The benefits of assertiveness.

You’ll notice that not only are you happier and less resentful, you’ll also feel more confident within yourself and be able to better express your own wants and needs. You won’t feel intimidated by people or feel as if you HAVE to agree to do something that you hate.

You’ll have loads of free time because you won’t be wasting it doing stuff for someone else. Your relationships will improve because you’ll be able to set firm boundaries in place. You’ll feel less anxious.

Finally (and this is the big one) you’ll respect yourself more for speaking up about what you want.

All it takes is that small, simple word. Harness the power of the word ‘no’ and watch your life go from dull to fulfilling in the space of a few short weeks.

Just think: would you rather be the girl who says yes to everyone and has no time for herself, or would you rather be the woman who refuses to waste her time on people who aren’t willing to do the same for her?