31 October 2012 20 Comments

Saying “No”

Do you have difficulty saying “No?” Do you feel guilty and bad about yourself when you do? Saying “No” is important. How often are you afraid to say “No” to your spouse, child, teenager, boss, neighbor or friend and later feel angry that you didn’t? If you grew up in a family where “No” was not allowed, shamed or supported, you probably have difficulty saying “No” and have to resort to indirect communication like not returning phone calls, rolling your eyes, isolation or withdrawal. Saying “No” is a form of setting healthy boundaries and is similar to holding an invisible shield. This shield protects you and tells others how close or distant they can stand near you, what behaviors of theirs you will tolerate and how much energy you are willing to give them. Do you allow yourself to disagree with another’s restaurant choices or political views? Can you say “No” to solicitations for help, requests for money, demands for attention or sexual advances? When you say “No” you are defining who you are and teaching others how to treat you. If someone is asking personal questions that you don’t want to answer, tell them you’d rather not talk about that. The amount you tell others about yourself is the amount you let them in so decide how personally and at what pace you will let them get to know you. YOU don’t ever owe anyone anything. Saying “No” is not mean or rejecting, it is merely a way of making your needs and wants visible to others. So next time, say “Yes” to saying “No” and see how much more empowered you feel. If you found this helpful, feel free to comment on it, email me at: nanlcsw@gmail.com or call me to schedule an appointment so that you can start setting better boundaries for yourself. Feel free to offer my article to others. I do this as a free service to promote relationship healing.