I’ve always had trouble with the word no even as a child. My mom claims she would have raised my brother ten times before having to raise me again. I was strong willed, stubborn and loved to say, “no”.
Not much has changed since then, I am still strong willed and stubborn, the difference is now I can’t say no, to anyone. Extra responsibilities at work? Sure, no problem. We’d like you to be the head room parent this year. Ok, I can do that! Would you mind being the website coordinator for football? Yeah, I don’t see why not. Mom, I need another lacrosse stick mine broke today at practice. Ok buddy, we’ll see if we can get a new one.
You see a pattern here? Sometimes I find I can’t even say no to myself. For example when holiday shopping I found a new handbag, at a great deal of course, I just couldn’t say no to it, even though it was not on the list or in my budget.
Does this sound like you? I decided to do a little research to find out the “why” behind the inability to say no; to help keep you stress free and debt free, just by using one simple little word, no.
Are you a people pleaser?
A people pleaser is one of the nicest and most helpful people you know. They never say “no.” You can always count on them for a favor. In fact, they spend a great deal of time doing things for other people. They get their work done, help others with their work, make all the plans, and are always there for family members and friends.
A people pleaser suffers from the fear of rejection and the fear of failure.
Fear of Rejection. Not wanting to let someone down for fear they will no longer like you or worse, that they’ll disappear from your life.
Fear of Failure. Not wanting to make a mistake for fear of disappointing someone or being punished.
For example: If you say no to extra work you think you will get fired. If you say no to your child’s teacher they may think you are an absentee parent. If you do not get involved in your child’s activities you feel you won’t fit in with the other parents. If you don’t buy your child a coveted item they might say they hate you. If you don’t buy the item that is a great deal you will be angry with yourself for missing out on it.
Learning to say no
Now that we know the why behind not being able to say no, lets see if we can take steps to correct it.
- Consider each “no” carefully. Saying no just to break the cycle won’t fix the underlying problem. Instead, consider each “no” on its own. For example saying no to a friend that you always say yes to when they ask you for money is probably a good choice. However, if they ask you for your advice on a personal matter taking the time to help them is most likely beneficial for your relationship.
- Be tactful. With your new found freedom to say no you may be inclined to shout it at the next person that asks you for something; the last thing you need is another bad habit. Instead explain why you must say no and maybe include the phrase, “I really wish I could help, but I can’t this time.”
- Stop feeling guilty. If your schedule doesn’t permit helping someone or you just don’t want to do it, understand it’s okay to say no. Maybe you had your time allotted for exercise or an evening home alone with a good book, don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first.
Learning to say no will have a profound effect on your life. You will find you are happier, less stressed, and saving more money than ever before. All of those, “Can I have this?” “Will you buy me that?” “I really need this!” are easily answered with the word no. Despite your previous thoughts that saying no would push people away and make you look bad, quite the opposite is true. You are seen as a strong person ready to take on the next task, project or expense, when you want to.
Do you have a hard time saying no?