How to Say No and Gain Respect

Photo by  Isaiah Rustad  on  Unsplash

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

Let’s talk about the dreaded “no.” Just the thought of saying it to someone may give you this sick feeling, but saying no doesn’t have to be a bad thing. What if I told you it’s healthy and from saying it you’ll gain respect from others? Still don’t believe me? Let me first tell you about my journey.

My own self-care journey and struggle with saying no in order to gain respect.

For most of my life, I've spent my time being exhausted and busy. I thought this meant I was being productive and when I wasn’t running around like a mad woman I would attribute that to me being lazy.

Last year I was working a full-time job in corporate America, active in my church, on the board of my sorority, had just started a new relationship, volunteered with a non-profit that I helped get off the ground, and opened my own practice. Notice how my practice was at the very end of the list. This is about right though. Needless to say, I was worn out!

I thought this meant I was being productive and when I wasn’t running around like a mad woman I would attribute that to me being lazy.

I made a promise to myself which I also verbally informed those around me that I was taking a step back from everything except for me. I’m not sure if anyone took me seriously or not but I realized that I was the one to blame for how I was feeling. I was teaching people how to treat me. It wasn’t their fault that I had said yes to everything they asked of me. I wanted them to know they could depend on me and that I’d come through whenever they needed me to. However, that left me with little to nothing for me.

I realized that I was the one to blame for how I was feeling. I was teaching people how to treat me.

For the most part, those that care about me were very understanding and supportive of my decision. I left my full-time job to focus on my Maegon Renee brand, I stepped away from my sorority, my role at church, and I only volunteer at two big events for the non-profit. I am now teaching people how to treat me, but in a different way. I no longer say yes to the things I don’t really want to do. I also don’t apologize for it or try and make excuses. I just simply say no. I am so much more relaxed now and it shows in how I interact with others.

Staying Busy Has Become a Badge of Honor

We have been conditioned that as long as we are busy we are productive and once we take some time for ourselves or rest that means we’re being lazy or selfish. When we do have a little bit of downtime we try our best to fill it up with things. Then we become frustrated when there’s not enough time for ourselves or to accomplish tasks. It’s a vicious cycle, but one that we’re all responsible for. Your role is to communicate your needs and the other person’s role is to respect it.

Action Steps for Saying No

  1. Take it slow: It's not easy to set boundaries if this is new to you. It can be intimidating at first. It will take practice to get comfortable with it so take it slow by setting boundaries with one area of your life first then add on additional areas as time goes on.
  2. Work on your self-esteem: If you have low self-esteem chances are you will have difficulty setting healthy boundaries. Self-esteem takes time to improve and it may require you to visit a therapist to find out where this began.
  3. Be prepared for some push back: Those that are not used to you setting boundaries may become agitated with you once you do. Know that this is a typical reaction and that as time goes on if they want to continue a relationship with you they will eventually learn to respect you for it.
  4. It's a full sentence or a gracious response - Don't feel the need to over explain yourself and the reason you are turning down an offer. "No" can be a full sentence or a gracious no. An example of a gracious no is "no, I'm not able to attend dinner this evening, but I would love to go with you next Saturday."

Things for You to Consider

When you say no to an obligation you are communicating that you respect both your time and theirs. If you agree to something you would rather not do then there’s a possibility you won’t give it your all and that isn’t fair to either one of you. Instead be honest with you and the person asking by setting the standard of things you will and won’t agree to. It saves both of you time. I wonder if this is an area you struggle with? Is it hard for you to say no in fear of losing a friendship? Can you imagine how free it would feel to live life on your terms?

Maegon Renee is a self-care expert who lives for office supplies and has a knack for naming TV show theme songs. Her passion and purpose in life is teaching women how to take themselves from a place of hurting to place of healing through education, therapy, and podcasts. Grab her freebie for our group below! 

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