The word ‘no’ inherently has negative connotations – irrespective of the topic under consideration, saying no to anyone or anything associates you with negativity. Not only is this true from other person’s perspective, but also for oneself.
After saying no, we get an unknown feeling of guilt, and start to find ways to elaborate on our decision or pinpoint the issues that made us do so. We never see a negation as our own decision, which is why we don’t get along with it very well. But is ‘no’ such a bad word? We haven’t let it remain a neutral word that can go either way. Instead, we have made it look like a villain. So, after years of this perception entrenched deeply, our mind treats it as something negative, making us feel guilty once we say it.
However, we must learn the neutral meaning of ‘no’ to keep our minds healthy. We have to understand that it does not have anything to do with authority or weakness. Besides, it is not about rejection either; it is about being saved from harm, evil, and anything that you don’t like. It is a mindful approach that lets you take decisions and makes your life easier. ‘No’ is a symbol of self-love and self-care, and you must not be hesitant in using it for yourself. You must change your previous perception to come out of the old-school connotation with the word.
Once you have decided to change the narrative of ‘no’, you are probably on the right track, though it might take some time to make your brain actively realise its importance. A repetition of this exercise will help your mind to automatically work this way. The feeling of bitterness and guilt towards yourself will vanish, and you’ll be able to live with your decision.
How to Know When To Say ‘No’
Although we are asking you to use ‘no’ often, it shouldn’t be for everything. There must be boundaries, too. Using it very frequently can bring back all the negative feelings that you’re trying to avoid. So, when should you say ‘no’? You should say it when you understand that someone is exploiting you to reach their own goals and motives, when a person distracts you from achieving your goals, or when you are being abused. You shouldn’t shy away from saying no to what someone else would say yes to.
You must use ‘no’ when you feel that your boundaries are being pushed, as your boundaries are there to guide you. They can be about anything – your space, your mood, your ambition, the more significant issues in life as well as the petty ones. You don’t want to violate them, as breaking them won’t give you the happiness that you have been looking for. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be rude while saying no to people. It should be polite, but stern. Everyone must know that you mean what you said, and that you won’t be backing down on your decision. Your ‘no’ must reflect your courage and determination to stand by your point of view and your ability to set your own limits in a particular situation.
Is It Selfish to Say ‘No’?
As already discussed, ‘no’ is a word that society takes negatively and won’t be welcomed very warmly by others. So does it make you a selfish person to say it? It actually does, if you understand that selfishness can also be self-care or self-love. If you keep your goals and your wellness as your priority, people may consider you selfish – and that’s okay. Being selfish enough to protect your health, interests, and goals is healthy.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you must destroy your relationships with your loved ones. Firstly, you’ll have to figure out who are the people around you that love you and care for you. If they do, while you still can’t be a yes-man every time, saying no can involve more empathy. Depending on the person and situation where you are saying no, you might want to add an explanation.
Highlighting the reasons for saying no might make it easier for you to negate a thought or idea, especially when you are at the initial stages of learning to say no. It will reduce the pressure you might have to face, providing you with the experience that you can continue using over time to reach a level where ‘no’ would just be another word – not a positive or negative feeling. While empathising, you must not ignore yourself and your goal in life, even if you must be selfish about it.