Our lives are made of decisions. We decide what time we wake up, what we wear, what we say. Often, it may seem that these decisions require little to no thought, such as choosing to do a favor for a friend, or accepting an exciting position at a new organization. Yet, I frequently hear people say that they don’t know how to say “no,” which hinders their ability to genuinely make decisions.
As someone who used to resonate all too well with the description above, I’ve now learned that being able to say “no” is absolutely vital to my health and happiness, and it’s probably vital to yours as well. Here are some questions that can help you realize that saying “no” may be the right thing to do.
Is it something I want to do or am interested in? If you immediately have to find ways to convince yourself to go to the event or make the commitment, then you should probably say no. When I’ve committed to things I don’t really care about, I end up neglecting my responsibilities because I’m not interested or passionate about the project. Saying yes to something we don’t really want to also means potentially letting others who relying on us down.
What are my motives for wanting to do it? If it is something you want to do, ask yourself what your motives are. If your desire comes out of passion and interest, great! If it comes out of guilt, pressure, or the desire to avoid conflict, you should probably say no. Saying yes to something for these reasons will likely end with you being unhappy or uncomfortable, and others may feel the same in the process.
Do you have the time and ability to commit? If you’re genuinely interested, do you have the time to commit? Will you be spreading yourself too thin and end up neglecting your own needs? In the decision process, it’s important to make sure you consider yourself and your own needs. This isn’t being selfish! You have a right to love and prioritize yourself.
Hopefully these questions have given you clarity for the next big decision heading your way! Just remember that most people would probably prefer you being honest and saying no, than committing to something half-heartedly and not following through.