Saying No without Guilt: 5 Strategies for Asserting Your Boundaries
So, your life is chaotic, jam packed and crazy. You wake up each morning wondering how you will get through the day because you have so much to do.
When you drop the kids at school, another parent approaches you about organizing a bake sale/ wrapping paper drive/capital campaign (pick one). What do you say? “Yes. Sure. Of course.”
What have you done? You have added one more thing to your already jam packed life.
Saying NO is a very important part of living the life of your dreams. We all want to be involved in what we want to be involved in, but many of us are involved in things we don’t want to do.
Why? Guilt, usually, but also the inclination to be helpful, carry our share of the load, and set a good example for our kids.
These are all great things. But, to be the best person you can be, to set an excellent example for your kids, you must learn ways to say NO.
5 Ways to Say No: The Art of Setting Boundaries
Saying “no” can be difficult, especially when we don’t want to disappoint or upset others. But the ability to say “no” is crucial for maintaining our mental health and well-being. In this section, I will explore the 5 best ways of saying no and common reasons people struggle.
#1 – Believe in yourself and your reasoning for saying NO.
When you are asked to do something, take a moment, or an hour or a day, to consider why you would add this thing to your pile.
Would it satisfy you? Do you have the time? Do you have the interest? Is it the best use of your already limited time?
Considering something carefully before committing to it will allow you to say NO confidently. You have solid reasoning as to why you shouldn’t do it. If you believe in your reasoning, it will be easier to stand up and say NO.
#2 – Keep your NO explanation respectful, short and sweet.
When preparing to say NO, always begin respectfully delivering the message. Say that you are happy to have been asked and thank them for their confidence in you. This will soften them for the following sentence…in which you say NO.
When saying NO, you mustn’t go on and on about why you can’t do something. You have your reasons and want to stick to them, and rattling on about why you are saying NO will only allow the asker to convince you to say yes.
#3 – Don’t take a no to your NO.
Many askers are professionals. They know how to make another person do what they need them to do. When you have decided not to do something, stick to it. You will feel much better about yourself if you do. This can be a learning experience for you and your kids: how to make a choice and stick to it, even in the face of push back.
#4 – Use email.
I know this seems like a bit of a cop-out, but it’s the reason that email was invented…to deliver difficult news.
State your reasons for say NO clearly and decisively and offer no personal justifications or emotional commentary about this decision or anything else.
Your message will land, and the asker will not be able to argue and move on to ask someone else. And there is ALWAYS someone else to ask…
#5 – Reward yourself.
Positive reinforcement is a really good thing. Of course, by saying NO, you will have the positive reinforcement that you haven’t added one more thing to your plate, but I think that it’s essential that you reward yourself when you have done something good for yourself.
So reward yourself for a job well done, saying NO. It can be little, like a beautiful piece of dark chocolate, or significant, like a massage. Whatever it is that will make your heart sing.
You have done something complicated and should credit yourself for a well-done job.
Saying NO does not come naturally to any of us, but once you learn the value of doing so, you will be well on your way to reaching the life of your dreams. Saying NO will help you not only not get overwhelmed, but it will keep your time open for more important things.
And remember, if your kids see you saying NO in a clear, positive and respectful way, they are more likely to do so themselves. This will set them up for success in the future, because they can set boundaries, something every mom wants for her child.
So really, it’s a two for one win. More time for you and a lesson learned for your kids. Well done, Mom!
In the end I will say that, saying “no” can be difficult, but it’s essential for maintaining our mental health and well-being. We can avoid becoming overwhelmed and resentful by setting boundaries and communicating our limits. There are several strategies for saying.
Contact me NOW for more ways to help your dreams come true! You will be happy you did.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.