The confidence to say ‘no’ April 27, 2021 – Posted in: Advice, Confidence, Leaders and Teams, Personal Development, Relationships

The Confidence To Say 'No'

Lots of people who struggle with their confidence find it hard to say ‘no’. The two things go hand in hand.  

Do you find it hard to say ‘no’ to people?  Do you find yourself doing things you don’t want to do and then getting resentful all because you couldn’t say ‘no’? Do you feel like a doormat? If so, then keep reading.

Knowledge is power

The first step to building up the confidence to say ‘no’ is to ask yourself why you feel you can’t say it.  For many of us, the fear of not being liked is what causes us to say ‘yes’ to everything.  We put our popularity ahead of the truth but, of course, all this does is lower our self-esteem because we are acting from a place of fear and self-denial.  We are not being honest. Other people can’t say ‘no’ because they believe they don’t matter.  Or that it’s their job to look after everyone else.  Or that if they say ‘no’ now they might never get asked again…

So, in order for you to break free ask yourself these coaching questions:

Why don’t I say ‘no’?
What am I afraid will happen if I do say ‘no’?
What am I putting before my truth when I say ‘yes’ when I really want to say ‘no’?

Breaking free

The next step is to make a decision to change.  To help with your motivation answer these questions:

What could I gain from saying ‘no’?
How might I feel about myself if I learned to say ‘no’?
How could this affect my confidence?
How might my relationships improve if I started being more honest?
How would I like to say no?  
Who do I know who does this well?  
What clues can I gain from them?
What do I need to believe about myself in order to start saying ‘no’ when I need to?


Lastly, it’s time to practice.  Make a commitment to yourself to start being more truthful and courageous in this area of your life.  Write down somewhere, “I am learning to say no!” and repeat this to yourself often.  It will be easier to start on a text so the next time you get asked to do something you don’t want to do you can stop and tell yourself that this is your opportunity to change.  Then, construct a kind but firm text back to say ‘no’.  Practice this a few times and then challenge yourself to say ‘no’ face:face.  

The more you practice the easier this will become.  Before you know it you will be saying ‘yes’ when you really mean ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when you mean ‘no’.  
I have a friend who learned to say no because she was sick of feeling like a doormat.  So, she stopped being a doormat.  

She stopped acting like a doormat.  
She stopped believing she had to say yes to everything and everyone.  

Recently, a man she hardly knew asked her for a lift, which made her feel uncomfortable.  So, she simply said, “No, I can’t give you a lift.  I’ll see you next week.” and she walked away.  She kept her tone kind and light, she smiled but she didn’t apologise and she didn’t feel guilty.  

“I’ve learned that I don’t have to do anything that makes me feel uncomfortable,” she says.  “Because it’s not fair on me and it’s not fair on the person asking if I do something whilst simmering with a resentment.”

She has learned the confidence to say ‘no’ and she feels more confident as a result.

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