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How do you say “no”, without that guilty feeling?

    How do you say no, without that guilty feeling?

    How do you say “no” without that guilty feeling?

    There are times when it would be better to say what is on your mind and communicate in an honest and open way about how you feel. So, how do you say no, without that guilty feeling? 

    If you would like to say “yes” to a request, because you would like to help someone, because you can help and because you want to help,  that’s fine,  however,  if you are always saying “yes” because you are afraid of saying “no”, then it may be time to consider why you do this.
    If saying “no” causes you to feel guilty, where has this guilt come from? 
    Children are not born guilty. Feelings of guilt are taught to us as little children. If we grow up in an environment of guilt and manipulation, we can sometimes do whatever is asked so that we don’t suffer the feelings of guilt. Often, we do our best to please the other person.   We say “yes” rather than express our true feelings as we don’t wish to ‘rock the boat’.
    When guilt is intentionally used, your emotions are controlled
    When guilt is intentionally used on you, you can find that your emotions are easily controlled, this is why you feel unhappy about what’s going on.
    Emotional manipulation often leads you to feel that you have to take care of someone else’s requests and feelings before or instead of your own.


    What it is that makes you feel guilty and how can you change your guilty feeling?

    How do you say “no” without that guilty feeling?

    There are only a certain number of hours in the day
    1. We can’t do everything, there are only a certain number of hours in the day.  

    If you do everything asked of you, it’s likely that you will not have any time left for yourself. If you have a very busy life and you say “yes” to all the requests, you may start to feel stressed, anxious and resentful. 

    When you understand that you simply can’t say yes to everything and that’s ok, this will empower you and help you to decide exactly which requests you want to do and those you want to say no to. 

    2. Start to value your own needs and feelings. 

    If you start to treat yourself with the same courtesy and respect as you treat others, this will dramatically improve your sense of self and self-confidence.

    Realise that it is not unreasonable for you to do your task first, this will tell the other person that your needs and values are also to be respected. 


    Value your own needs and feelings.


    Say “no”, not ‘sorry’
    3. Say “no”, not ‘sorry’
    When declining a request, bear in mind that the other person has asked you to do something for them, they have asked you for your time and effort. If you cannot, or do not want to do this request there is no need to apologise. You have not done anything wrong and you are not guilty. 
    Instead you could offer to help in some other way that suits you better – maybe you offer to pick up a takeaway instead of cooking the full dinner? 
    4. Learn and memorise a response so you can’t get caught out. 
    If you find yourself stuck for something to say or shocked and surprised when someone expects you to help them, have a quick and easy statement that you can use when needed.  This could be something like:
    “Thanks so much for thinking of me, however I am already booked at that time/date, so it is not possible for me to help you”. 
    People might not like to hear you say no at first. You will feel stronger and more confident each time you stand up for yourself. 
    Learn and memorise a response so you can’t get caught out.
    Are you worried about being judged for saying no?
    5. Are you worried about being judged for saying no?
    Why do you have so much difficulty with putting yourself ahead of others. Do you fear that the other person will sulk, stop caring about you and be moody? If you can see this for what it is, which is a form of manipulation, aimed to get you to do something they would like you to do, you can be more objective. You can accept that the other person wants to make you feel guilty, however the only person who makes you feel anything is you, you control how you feel.
    If they should complain or not like this change in you, just remember we are talking about you here and your feelings and your need to be respected!


    When you are more comfortable doing what you want first, you gain a valuable quality of life, when you feel self-confident and your self-respect increases you become you again. You feel good in who you are, you achieve what is important for you, and yet you still feel that you have respected others, however, this is on your terms now. 

    What else can you do to help yourself? 

    On a deeper level there may be emotional issues which may need to be addressed regarding how you say “no” without that guilty feeling. 
    In RTT,  we say that your feelings are the most real thing you have; they are there to give you a message, you should be always aware of what your feelings are trying to tell you. Sometimes we do anything and everything to avoid and put off understanding how we feel, especially when we feel bad or upset.
    Have you ever gone to the fridge, to eat something or have a drink, or do a totally unrelated task in order to block out that feeling?  Does this help? Well only in the short term for the duration of the avoidance tactic, all the time, in the back of the mind there is a ‘knowing’ or an ‘understanding’ that the feeling is yet to be addressed. 
    Awareness – In fact, it is only when we become fully aware and are honest about what we are feeling can we increase our confidence and self-esteem, only then can we feel at peace in ourselves. 
    Acceptance – Instead of challenging why you feel the way you do, realise that this is how you feel, if you feel used, abused, frustrated or angry – this is how you feel. If you try to deny these feelings, your reality, you will feel worse. Begin to accept your feelings, understand them and start to feel better. 
    Articulate – Even if you only say it to yourself with no one else present, express your feelings out loud. Hear yourself saying the words that have hurt you, made you feel sad, irritated and angry, say it even if it’s to the dog and no one else hears it. This will help you to feel better and help you to become free. 

    Do you find yourself repeatedly rehashing conversations and events in your head?

    We’ve all done this, right? 
    At the time the unpleasant situation happened, we were unable to express how we felt, we didn’t have the words. Perhaps we were taken by surprise we hadn’t realised what was about to happen, we were caught in a vulnerable moment, when we hadn’t considered how it might affect us or what was expected from us? 
    What do you do about this, after the event? Quite likely, to make you feel better, your mind may replay the situation in your head, is this familiar, have you done this? Only this time, in your head you can ‘say what you think’ and this time in your head you get the results that you wanted!  You feel better in this moment, right? 
    However, it will never feel as good as if you were able to say what you thought at the time of the situation. If you can get used to expressing your feelings at the time, tell the person who caused the hurt that you were affected by what they did.  Say “I was hurt when, or I felt hurt by, tell them how you felt, rather than accusing them which may provoke a more dramatic and unnecessary reply from them.
    No one can argue with how you feel, your feelings are yours,
    only you can decide how you wish to feel.

    Issues & Problems? 

    As Marisa Peer, founder of Rapid Transformational Therapy states, if you are suffering with a problem, that problem must be:
    • Permanent
    • Personal
    • Pervasive
    Look at the issues in your life, your boss is irritating. That’s not permanent. In 15 years’, time, you will both be somewhere else. It’s not pervasive, because he or she is not in your life when you’re on holiday or at weekends. It’s not even personal. Your boss is short tempered with everyone.  
    Using the 3 P’s will allow you to feel more in control of your situation and more competent. If your problem is not permanent pervasive and personal, it’s not really a problem. It’s something temporary that you can deal with. 
    The key to absolute inner peace and happiness is expressing your hurt, as close to the event as possible. The definition of madness is how long it takes to express hurt.
    Once you can completely address the issues in your life and deal with them constructively in your relationships, you’ll find that your confidence grows because you’re successfully communicating and successfully resolving situations in a way that is sensitive to others as well as achieving results that benefit you. And this itself will give you a massive confidence boost.
    State your feelings from insight rather than impulse, look before you leap, consider the impact of your words on the other party and on yourself. Aim to get the best result.
    You don't have to say "YES" all the time

    As Oprah Winfrey states: You don't have to say "YES" all the time

    Has there ever been a time when you didn’t say no, when you wanted to say no? 
    To go through life with thoughts and feelings that remain unexpressed is not going to help you to live a life of freedom.  As Oprah Winfrey stated recently, despite her massive amount of fame, popularity and financial success;  
    The greatest success I have achieved, is to feel comfortable saying “no” without feeling guilty about it.” 
    She says, her greatest success, having suffered from the ‘disease to please’, is to find the internal strength, the internal courage, it takes to say;
    “No! I will not let you treat me this way!” Oprah found; “It’s OK if people don’t like you. It’s about how you feel about yourself.

    What's next?

    Please feel free to contact me if you have identified with the comments and suggestions above and would like help with saying no!

    Just press the button below to arrange a free, no obligation 30 minutes chat. 

    Look after yourself, Joanna x

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