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5 reasons we don’t say “no” enough

October 9, 2012

The ‘anything for a quiet life’ mentality can often lead, ironically, to anything but.  We take on commitments and say yes to things so we can avoid the drama of saying no.

What drama, though?  Often, this can all be in our minds.  But here are five common reasons for failing to say no when we want to, from author Cheryl Richardson’s book “The Art Of Extreme Self-Care”:

  • We don’t want to feel guilty
  • We don’t want to disappoint others because we know how bad it feels
  • We don’t have the language to let someone down with grace and love
  • Our fear of conflict and our desire to keep the peace keep us from telling the truth
  • We want people to like us, and we feel uncomfortable when they don’t

The underlying theme here is fear – fear that leads to inaction.  Sometimes patterns of behaviour can build up for years that make “no” into a dirty word and keeping us from leading the lives we want to.  That not only has an effect on our own wellbeing, but on others who cross our paths, including loved ones.

Taking steps to change a lifetime’s worth of fear can sometimes require some guidance.  A psychologist has the unique position of being outside of your circle, and able to give you the perspective you need to make a difference.

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