Let’s start with the fact that the only problem about those situations it’s in our minds. We are afraid of the reaction of others, the consequences of our refusal might cause. We are afraid of being considered selfish or not to be questioned in a second chance. According to our mindset, “say yes” is a sign of generosity and kindness, and “say no” is synonymous with selfishness and meanness. Right? … Well, not exactly!
This type of behaviour, especially in the long term, just creates a negative effect, because more and we’ll have to say yes, to reach the expectations that others have made of us. What happen? That cater to them, our needs are secondary, neglect our personal / professional commitments and so on and so forth, and we eventually become stressed in an exaggerated way. Before you learn to say no need to find out why we can’t do it. Here’s the top 5 reasons why we always say yes:
– We feel obliged to help others
– We fear conflict
– We want to be appreciated
– We are afraid of losing an opportunity
– We don’t want to ruin relationships
If we want to be more specific the real reason why we do it, is because we are afraid not to please others and, as a result, the other might have a bad opinion of us. Researches show that it is easier to answer with a yes to a request because to say no makes us uncomfortable and brings out negative emotions, such as guilt, shame, fear.
In the unlikely event that we say no, we become more likely to say yes to all subsequent requests. Why? Because the sense of guilt that comes from the fact that we said no that one time determines the need to remedy the “damage” we did when we refused to say yes the first time.
This trap of always saying yes is a way in which we have been programmed by evolution. Stone age humans that behave like that were considered less dangerous, and were less likely to be attacked by the strongest ones. So, our ancestors learnt to develop a submissive attitude not so much different from what dogs have when they encounter their dominant similar: lower the tail, avoid direct eye contact, hide the teeth and soon. It is as if to say: I’m not dangerous. We also learned not to be aggressive but also to lower our strength just because we’re afraid of conflict, critiques, or simply because we need to be surrounded by harmony and approved by others.
If you’re not able to say no when you realize that things are not ok for you, you become part of that swamp you were trying to get out. You eat what they give you, you talk like they say you have to talk instead speaking your mind. If you try to impress others or make everyone else happy, you risk to lose those things that make you, well, you. Let’s learn to say no and to free ourselves from this situations, shall we?
Think about what YOU like, what gives you happiness and what makes you sad instead, what you like to do and what you do only because someone else asked you to do it. This will help you to stop behaving how others want and start doing the things you like, not in order to gain respect from others but in order to be happy.
How does this happens? What are the effects of this trap on your life? Does it help? Does it make your relationships better? How can you transform it? What would you say to a friend who had this behaviour? What you need to stop doing? Here’s some questions you can ask to learn how to say no:
– What does it mean for me to always say yes?
– What do I need to believe in, to think, to learn how to say no?
– If you had to say no to something, what would it be?
– How can I say no in a kind way?
– Does it happen to you to always try to please others?
– Did you find another way to get out of that situation?