Learn to say no and stay true to yourself

Life is not as simple as we would like it to be. We live and work in a complex world with complex social structures. There is constant pressure on us to perform and act the way others would like us to be or behave. There is pressure from work, pressure from our family and pressure from our friends. They all want something from us. No wonder we find it difficult to stay true to ourselves.

In one of my previous articles How to find your True Self, be your Authentic Self I said that you have to stop playing roles and do not pretend to be better or play something you are not: Throw away the acting and be who you are. But what if we feel a lot of pressure from others to act in a way we are not? How can we resist this pressure? How can we say no?

You will feel this pressure most if you are in an environment which is already compromising your authentic self, your true self; or if you are not following your passion. The easiest way to deal with this is to change the environment to one which feels more right to you. However, this is not always possible. Changing your job may already be a challenge, but what about the people you love; your friends and family? There are very few people who are willing to leave everything behind and begin a new life. And what is the guarantee that your new life will be trouble free?

Sounds like a Catch-22? Well, it’s not. In my Stop blaming others and take control over your life article I explained there are three conscious options to choose from if you do not like a situation you are in:

  1. Change the situation if you can
  2. Walk away from the situation if you cannot change it
  3. Accept the situation for what it is, if there’s no alternative left or an another, higher, motive is a stake

Luckily, in most cases you can change the situation. Remember you are the director of your life, you are in control. Be as open as possible and explain to others what they can expect from you and what not. In other words: Be clear and learn to say no. This step alone can make a huge difference.

If you want to have more control over your live, saying no is an essential thing to learn. You have to show your limits to others. Without it, saying yes all the time, you give away the control to others. You give away your happiness.

You cannot please everyone. You cannot say yes to every request you get. If you do you’ll end up Stressed-Out; dealing with more things on your plate than you can possible handle. People will walk all over you.

So stop saying yes all the time and say no more often. Say no if it doesn’t feel right, if something goes against your intuition. Explain why you cannot accept every request all the time and be amazed how people react. They will respect you for your decision and respect you for staying true to yourself. Learn to say no and stay true to yourself.

5 comments… add one
  • Fatima Da Oct 3, 2009 @ 23:53

    Grt post …. I do hope we all learn to say No when needed and understand we cant please everyone…… Thanks for sharing…..shared post via twitter.

  • jonathan Oct 5, 2009 @ 9:55

    Problem with people who say “yes” is that when they don’t do something, the other person is doubly angry – first of all because the thing hasn’t been done and secondly because they said if would. Better to say no in the first place..

  • Jason Oct 5, 2009 @ 11:50

    There are to many “Yes” men in the world trying to get everyone to like them.

    You cannot please everyone so one needs to learn to be honest and say No, especially if one hasn’t the time or the knowledge to do what somebody has asked.

    It’s only going to come back and bite you on the ass!

  • Patrice Oct 6, 2009 @ 11:55

    You’re right – learning to say “no” if it does not feel right is a good attitude. It is not good that because we want to please everyone, we will say “yes” to everything. This serves as a reminder to me. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nothing profound Oct 6, 2009 @ 21:55

    “Say NO, and you outcircle the philosophers.” Thoreau

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