Last update: 07 September, 2020
In life we must learn to be understanding and sometimes to adapt to others. In other words, to be flexible. There are people, however, who for various reasons (lack of self-esteem or the feeling that if they do not meet the expectations of others they will not be loved) always give up, to the point of breaking down. It happens to those who failed to learn to say no.
Giving help to others and being generous, as well as being recommendable, brings us various benefits. Nonetheless, it is important to prioritize and focus on ourselves: we need to be flexible without going to the limit and split in two to always please others and put their needs on top of ours. We must learn to say no!
What are the consequences of not being able to say no?
When we don't set limits, we somehow don't respect each other. It is as if we are invisible to ourselves and everyone else has the right to decide for us. When this happens, our self-esteem decreases and often gives way to deep feelings of inner loneliness and failure.
Always being complacent with others without ever doing what we really want will lead us to feel bad about ourselves. We will come to believe that we are worthless, that we have no good qualities or any potential. Gradually, self-esteem suffers.
Feeling of loneliness
When we always do everything for others, when we are not honest with them or with ourselves about what we want and do not, we end up feeling a feeling of loneliness that makes us deeply sad. We think that nobody loves us for who we are, but for what we do. With our behavior, however, we contribute to this idea. How will others really get to know us if we are dedicated only to doing what they want or what we think they want?
"The most important thing I learned after I was 40 was learning to say no when it had to be no."
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez-
Feeling of failure
Doing what others ask of us has a price: giving up our desires and aspirations. This leads us to experience continuous feelings of failure for what could have happened. For an accumulation of broken dreams and lost illusions. For this we must avoid being so available to the point of breaking up.
How to learn to say no
Learning to say no is important to take care of ourselves and to set limits. To practice self-love and begin to value ourselves. Even if we struggle, we cannot let time pass before we express ourselves. The following methods can be of great help.
Stop being afraid of criticism
No one will ever agree with everything we do or say. After accepting this idea, we will lose the fear of being accepted and feel stronger. We have to face the fear of criticism and be ourselves. Everything others tell us are just opinions.
"We are exposed to criticism in the same way we are exposed to a cold"
Imagine yourself in different situations
If you know that you have a hard time saying no, visualize yourself in the situation you will find yourself in. If you know they will ask you something, think about how you can respond. What will your position be? You will feel much more relaxed once you are prepared for what is going to happen. Nonetheless, keep in mind that circumstances will not always turn out the way you imagined them.
Don't give too many explanations
You don't have to justify yourself when you say no. Explain the right, be sincere and polite. A simple "I don't feel like it now" is more than enough.
Many times we let ourselves be overwhelmed by so many thoughts. About what we will say, about the most plausible excuse to come up with or about how we will say no. These ideas go round and round in our heads like a hamster on a wheel.
However, you don't need to think too much. Give enough explanations and that's it. If you stop and think too much about these thoughts, the only thing you will get is generating anxiety that will only harm yourself.
Learn to love yourself
When we always want to please others, we often do things we don't feel like doing. We must learn to love each other, to do what we like and not to devote so much time to others when we are not dedicating it to ourselves. Why do we care so much for others and so little for ourselves?
Don't always be so helpful
If you show yourself too available, you will nurture the idea that everyone can count on you at any time. It is important to reject proposals that you do not like or simply say that you do not have time. Sometimes you can even pretend to be distracted or careless. Without having to say anything, others will realize that you too can say no.
Learn to love yourself without everyone's approval
You have to learn that you can't always please everyone. Once you have fixed this idea in mind, you will feel more relieved and will not give much importance to what others may say.
As the famous saying goes: "Charity begins at home". Don't forget this, because you are the most important thing. If you don't love each other and don't take care of yourself, no one will do it for you.