I want to share with you one of the most valuable assertive skills that I have learned for: Managing Stress,
Managing Time and as an effective antidote to Depression.
In an Ideal Situation we are all able to Say ‘No!’ when our Gut instinct is uncomfortable. It is here where we do not have to explain. We do not become defensive. We do not become aggressive and we do not withdraw. We are also ideally able to say ‘No!’ without feeling guilty.
In real life we are so often faced with this situation at work and or at home. We all know the demands of; ‘can I have…’, ‘whats for supper’,. We all know the feeling that others are sucking the energy out of our bones. We all know the feelings of resentment and anger when we say ‘Yes!’ rather than ‘No!’, and where we think others expect us to be Superman or Superwoman.
So what advice can I offer for those who frequently struggle to Say ‘No!’ ?
- Listen to your Gut Feel when someone is requesting something of you.
- Either say a direct ‘No!’
- Or say ‘Not today but I can do this for you on Monday’.
- Do not explain yourself
- Do not defend yourself
- Do not become aggressive
- Do not withdraw.
- When you can say, ‘No!’ without feeling guilty, you will feel liberated
- And as you practice this skill, you will find that you become more effective in using this skill and will subsequently feel less pressured, less guilty and less anxious and depressed
Clients frequently say; ‘But my Mother is persistent when she is demanding that I agree to something’. I counter this argument with ‘Keep repeating yourself like a broken record’ like ‘I know that you need me to……..but unfortunately I am unable to do so.’ Offer empathy for the person who wants something that you don’t want to give and then Say ‘No!’ anyway or give them a different compromise.
Or you might say ‘I cannot possibly refuse an important client.’ I say ‘Yes you can refuse the client when their demand is making your Gut instinct feel uncomfortable.’
Also, I often hear a client say; ‘sometimes I have to say ‘Yes!’ when I know that my Gut instinct is uncomfortable.’ I reply that should the person makes a conscious decision to agree to an unreasonable demand for whatever reason, they will not be damaging themselves at any level. This sounds paradoxical but in fact it is a truism. We sometimes decide to agree to do something for a myriad of reasons.
Therefore, we could review the GUT Instinct and Saying ‘No!’:
Gut feel puts you in touch with who you are and what it is that you want.
Understand the need of others.
Time-management is clearly facilitated when you learn to Say ‘No!’ to unreasonable or uncomfortable requests.
Females or women are often associated with pleasing others. So if you are a woman and struggle to say ‘No!‘, practice this skill and you will find yourself feeling more confident.
Empower yourself by setting boundaries by Saying ‘No!’
Educate close associates, family and friends to respect even if they are not necessarily enjoying your ‘No!’
Lighten the heavy depressed feelings that result from the internalised anger and resentment of Saying ‘Yes’ when your could Say ‘No!’