When I was in high school I found a book about how to say no in the library and I read it, but I didn’t understand why it would be hard to say no to something. Few years later when I started to work I understood why it was hard to say no in certain situation. I met a lot of people who didn’t like for example their job or relationship, they kept complaining but couldn’t say no and change their work or break up with their partner. Then I also made the same mistake just because I wasn’t determined enough to get myself out of a situation that I didn’t like. Then I met Panda who in this case, was the best role model for me.
Panda, has always been a kind of person who once is determined to do something he will do it, doesn’t matter how much it would cost him. He decided to lose weight so he set his routine to work out, cut down all the food he always ate, like sugar, bread, energy drink. He wanted to improve, to become a better person so he shut out all the people who couldn’t help him to do so. One of the most important thing I learned from him was his determination. He didn’t feel sorry or think twice. Once he made the decision he made it. If he had to say no, he said it.
Some of us are like Panda, who can be ruthlessly determined, but some of us are not. It can also depend on situation. It might be easy for someone to say no at work, but hard in relationship and reversed. To overcome it, we need to identify why we are afraid of saying no and then after we can handle and solve it.
Why is it hard to say no?
We are afraid of letting go
When we were on the verge of our break up, even I felt I needed to get out of this relationship as I also didn’t see the future in it. But I didn’t dare to say “let’s break up” and hoped it might turn out good. I didn’t want to let him go. I was afraid if he was out of my life I would have a big emptiness and nothing would be able to fill it. I was visualizing my future with him and I didn’t want to lose that illusion. It’s the same with many of us. We are simply afraid of letting go something (job, partner, friend) that we put ourselves in it, as we don’t know what would come next. We are afraid of letting go and the insecurity.
We are afraid that the relationship might go wrong
If we say no first, the other might leave us. We are afraid of disappointing a person that meant a lot to us. Or if we talk about work we might be afraid of our boss, who has more power over us. But if someone leave you or get mad at you because you stand up for yourself then he/she only uses you. That person doesn’t care what is good for you, they only want benefit for themselves. That means doesn’t matter if you say yes or no to that person, he/she will leave you at a certain point in time.
We are afraid of being selfish
If we say no, we might be accused of being selfish. We don’t want others think that we only think of ourselves and not of them. As we were brought up learning it’s better to give and think of the others first, subconsciously we tend to put ourselves behind. So in case we stand out and keep our standpoint we might seem selfish and crazy whereas it’s not true. Making yourself priority doesn’t mean you are selfish. Being selfish mean one can’t respect the other’s point of view. Remember this if you want to say no but don’t dare to.
We are afraid of responsiblity
We are responsible for our action and the consequence of our choice. In this case we might be left alone and that’s scary as we don’t know how to handle it. So in order to avoid this responsiblity we would rather stay in the situation where we are even though we don’t like it. But that one also have a consequence. We lose our own freedom and our chance to create our own ideal life.
Why is it worth saying no?
Our pride is not hurt
When I realized our relationship couldn’t go on, I should have broken up first, but instead I pushed him to say “Let’s break up”. Though I wanted it, I couldn’t accept it. Now I understand the reason, it wasn’t me who said to break up, but him. My pride was hurt, that’s why it was hard to recover from it. Many times I realized it would be much better if I could just bravely say the word ‘No’. When it came to relationship, I didn’t want to lose the friendship so I did things I didn’t want to, just to keep them. In the end they left me. The moment I was abandoned, I felt miserable like a loser. That made me suffer a lot. It’s the same at work. Imagine how you would feel better when you also want to quit your job! Going to your boss and handing in the resignation letter or letting them fire you? So after all this I realized why it is better for us to be courageous and say no with determination even if it’s hard. It saves our pride.
Things are getting done easily and quickly
Imagine you don’t want to be in the situation anymore, but you are afraid of leaving it and hope for it getting better. But day by day you only feel more miserable and stressful. There will be a point when you suddenly feel lost not knowing where to go. In that situation it’s much better to say no and get out of it as soon as possible. Of course change is hard as we don’t know what it brings. There is 50-50% that it can go right or wrong. Believe in the chance things go as you want so you can create your ideal life. But if it’s not, believe that life will help you and lead you to the right place. In the end everything happens for reason.
We will have peace
Insecurity make you throw a war, as you don’t know what’s going to happen. Secure situation gives you peace. If you are not sure whether to stay or leave, leave. If you want to stay you wouldn’t question it. The moment you decide to leave you will feel freedom. Or you might feel insecure but believe that life will reward you with better options.
We have control in our hand
Saying no comes with responsiblity for our action and consequence. As I mentioned before it can be scary and this is one of the reason we don’t dare to say no. But responsiblity also comes with freedom and it gives us a control over our life. Imagine our childhood and adulthood. When we were a child, our parents took care of us, gave us pocket money, toys and everything we needed it. We didn’t have to take any responsiblity, but in return we had to listen to them and do what they told us to do. When we grew up, we have our own earning and we buy ourselves things we needed, we do what we want. We became responsible for our own lives by earning our own money and in return we can do things we want, not what other tells us to do. It was scary too, but we also learnt how to control our own lives.
We receive respect from the right person
There is saying, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” That means once you go with what you want and you know by that you can create value for you and others too, you will find chance and help from the others. For example I have always wanted to encourage people to achieve their goal, but I didn’t know how to do it when I was young, so I gave up the idea. Later I found a motivational speech conference and after attending it, I decided to do the same. I accidentally found a non-profit organization where I had a chance to teach people how to manage their finance and to give a speech about solo travelling and encourage them to do what they want. And now I’m also tutoring. By that I can motivate every single person I meet. And I also receive inspiration from people around me as we have the same goals. This example shows that if you have courage to commit yourself to your goal, you will receive help from your surrounding and you will have people who really respect and trust you.
How to do it?
Saying is easy but doing is not. It’s not easy to say ‘no’, even though there are less letter in it than in ‘yes’. What we need to do is being determined. But of course it’s hard since we need to take responsibility for our action and consequence of it too. What I have always supported from the first day I step into the first motivational speech conference room is that “I come first”. Doesn’t matter what happen, who is involved I have to take care of myself first, before I think of others. Because if I’m not alright, how can I make others to be alright? So if we put ourselves first (and that doesn’t mean we are selfish) then it will be easier to be determined and make the right decision.
Think of the consequence
Before you make a decision think of the consequence. Tell the others to give you time and go through the outcome of your choice. In the end choose what you are drawn to the most. For example after I broke up with Panda I had a flight ticket for 1 month in the USA. I was thinking whether I should go to Asia too in that time. I wanted to do a half-world tour in 3 weeks. But after I drew two columns to see which one would be better: only USA or USA+Asia, I chose only USA as I would have had to pay a fortune for the USA+Asia trip and probably I would have died because of exhaustion. Of course don’t overthink! Allow yourself a minimum amount of time and go with what your intution say.
Believe that everything happens for reason
After you made your decision, you might feel like you made a wrong one and that feeling can discourage you. But always believe that everything happens for reason and as long as you don’t give up, you will be led to the right way. For example in my case I had always wanted to see West Coast in the USA, but I didn’t know when I could see it. When I decided to go back to Panda, I planned to stay only at his place in East Coast, so I gave up the idea to travel to the west. But in the end we broke up and I could have chosen to throw away the flight ticket or go to see Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I was really scared of this solo trip, but my dream came true. I realized things happen for a reason and life only wants good to us. It takes time to realize the meaning of everything happening around us, but with patience we will find it out soon.
So what I encourage you to do is respect yourself enough to do what you want to do. If that takes to leave a person you love, or a relationship or a job, do it. Because only when you are determined to focus on your goal and ideal life, you can reach it. Just like how Panda reaches it ruthlessly.
P.S: Whatever you want to do, only do things that are legal that don’t harm anyone!