If you’ve got that feeling that you’re always doing what everyone wants and you’re an eternal giver, you are likely to wind up feeling unhappy, frustrated and at odds with those around you. Often we fear that if we say ‘No’, there will be repercussions that will cause us to lose out. We fear we won’t be liked or loved if we aren’t agreeable.

If I tell my boyfriend ‘No’, he might leave me.
If I tell my friend ‘No’ she might not want to be friends with me anymore.
If I tell my work colleague to do her own work, I won’t be thought of as a team player.

Saying ‘No’ is not a bad thing. It gives you the ability to control how much you give and take in a relationship. If you aren’t happy about how much giving you’re doing and how much taking from you everyone else is doing, only you have the ability to change things. Just say ‘No’.

You’re don’t have to turn into a NO!-Maniac, but instead of saying ‘Yes’ all the time, cut back and say ‘Yes’ half the time. You’d be amazed at the difference it will make for your personal happiness and unsurprisingly, people will have to adapt to the change in your behaviour. This is a fundamental characteristic of human interaction. People do what they do, because they are allowed to. If someone does something within your relationship that you don’t like, you have the option at that point of telling the person that their behaviour is unacceptable. The recipient of this information has two choices: adapt their behaviour to a level of acceptability or ignoring what you have said and continuing on. Again at this point you have the option to tell them again that the behaviour is not acceptable. The recipient has the same previous options again and if they can’t tow the line or even find a compromise, if that suits, it is time to walk away.

This however is why people have trouble saying ‘No’ – the fear of rejection.

The thing is, if you ultimately end up pissed off and frustrated with resentment burning deep, what’s the point? Your inability to say ‘No’ means that you’re rejecting yourself.

Life is not about being agreeable and allowing people to run roughshod over you. Life is not about being a martyr and putting your needs to the side. Life is not about letting insecurity rule you so that you end up being surrounded by people that knowingly or unknowingly take advantage of your ‘good nature’.

However, remember it’s not a ‘good nature’ if you end up pretending that everything is hunky dory when secretly you feel unhappy. It’s better to say ‘No’ and be able to breathe easy knowing that you’re being yourself. Often whatever we fear isn’t anywhere near as bad and if someone doesn’t want to be with you because you won’t allow them to take advantage of you, they aren’t worth it anyway.

So if you have a friend that keeps ‘borrowing’ money that you never see again, say ‘No’ when they ask again. If you have a friend that came to stay for a short period but ended up staying for years, say ‘No’. If you have a boyfriend that disrespects you by carrying out certain behaviours, say ‘No’ and accept the possibility that you may be wasting your time with him anyway. If you have a colleague that constantly dumps their workload on you but is happy to take the credit for your effort, say ‘No’. Try where possible to avoid justifying and explaining. If people are asking, they need to accept the possibility that there may be a ‘No’ in your answer.

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