It’s not easy saying no. As humans, we want to be liked and appreciated all the time and saying “No” gives us the feeling that the other person will not like us. But is this really true?

Explains life and wellness coach Veechi Shahi, “Saying no is a very natural human response. An ability to say no is a learned, acquired and experienced quality of a conscious or connected person. To survive in this world, which is filled with insecurities, doubts, competition, and judgements towards others, we learn to say yes when we really mean to say no. However, a person who learns the art of saying no does not need to survive as this person thrives in life. This learning begins at home when a child is growing up, and absorbs from the environment, family, system how people say yes when they actually mean no. This is turn makes our communication more meaningless and less effective. As a life coach, I say that no is a precious word that saves a lot of time and energy, if used well. One should practice saying no and learn to accept the truth as it is, as that will never hurt anyone.”

Adds wellness coach Ramona Mordecai, “If you are starting to make changes in your life, it’s very natural for you to start growing out of your ‘seed environment’. You must believe that there is an environment to foster every new choice. Information is constantly hitting us with solutions to test for imperative changes to be made for our lifestyle, health, beauty, and choice of environment. Evolution has always been a constant, and changing one’s ways would often lead to a lot of friction and misunderstanding.”

If you’ve always struggled in refusing a request to someone, the following tips are for you.

Be Assertive, Yet Calm

People can mistake your emotions, confusion and disappointment as a feeling of guilt or a sign of weakness. So, it is very important to sound calm, clear and firm when saying no to someone for something. Be assertive and confident, without sounding rude or uncaring. The other person is more likely to accept your refusal if you don’t raise your voice or sound upset.

Be Honest

Says Mordecai, “The point of saying no will never arise if you stand in your power and exercise your purpose. The best way to deal with a situation is to communicate your intention with the people who matter the most. Write a long message or email and be vulnerable about where you are standing and the fact that you are working on making changes. If someone still overrides your decision, ignore their messages and calls and answer back in a time in which you operate at your optimum. You do not need to ‘over perform’ to win people in your life. The minute you find yourself in ‘performance’ mode, hold yourself back, observe your weakness from an outsider’s point of view and see where the correction is needed.”

Don’t Keep Apologising

Yes, we understand that you feel bad about saying no, but the more you apologise, the more it will be taken as a sign of weakness, letting the other person think that they still have a chance to convince you. You should apologise once, but leave it at that and sound firm in your denial.

Explain the Reason for Your Refusal

If you think that your refusal has genuinely hurt the other person, offer a reasonable explanation for why you couldn’t do what they asked you to. The best thing to do is to take a deep breath, offer a genuine smile and firmly refuse. Don’t offer extra words, embroidery, or guilty compensating efforts.

Recognise That You Really Want to Say ‘No’

Explains Shahi, “The mind works in two extremes – like a pendulum it goes from ‘yes, yes, yes’ to ‘no, no, no’. This is known as the duality of the mind. To reach a balanced decision, the mind needs to be in the middle, as the decision will arise from the centre. The answer that arrives from one’s core, the deepest cell, is the real one. Be it a yes or a no, it will be forceful, powerful and total. To avoid unnecessary talks, be real and authentic in your communication and put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”

Train Your Mind

Follow this trick that Shahi often uses herself. “You can train your mind to arrive at the right decision, as far as saying no is concerned. When you’re in doubt about something, think about it in your head and say yes, yes, yes to it for a couple of minutes. Alternate that with a no, no, no for the next couple of minutes. After alternating a few times, hold on and think. Your answer will arise from within your core.”

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