It is ok to say no, it is a part of life. We say yes and no every time, being respectful in your communication is more important than worrying about saying no to others.
Like many people, I have this problem most of the time saying no, especially at work. Indeed it is wonderful for my colleagues, sadly not for me. Lately, I have thought about this quite often and I have come to the conclusion that saying yes entirely depends on where the answer comes from. Yes, it is an amazing feeling wanting to help others, but do you help others because you have been guilted to do so. The guilt of knowing you can help the person but didn’t even if it is not your job to do so makes me rarely say no. Oftentimes I find myself performing tasks at work that are not part of my job description or task that I am not thrilled about. Despite that, I explain and do it anyway because I don’t want to let someone down or I was guilted into it with the infamous line “take one for the team”. And who wants to let their team down right?
Manipulative people can reel those that are empathetic and naturally people pleasers. In that sense not saying no becomes a weakness. When you continue to perform a task out of guilt there is an established resentment towards yourself and those that are asking you to perform the task.
You begin to feel indignation that you go against your will to say no just to say yes. To prevent resentment the first thing that you need to do is ask yourself, do I want to do this or have I simply been made to feel bad if I don’t comply. If it is in your heart to do it then absolutely go for it. On the other hand, if you don’t want to, then say no. When I do say no I go into a long explanation because it comes back to guilt again. If people can make you feel bad enough when you say no they have you right where they want you.
Know the implications of saying yes. I remember after graduation I started at a company where I wanted to make an impact. A mid lever manager asked me to reach out to a patient from another department. This would mean that I would have to access her chart to document the conversation. From the moment I read the request in the email to the in-person discussion with that manager, I felt uncomfortable, but I did it anyway. To make a lengthy story direct, I got an email from her boss’s boss questioning why I was in this patient’s chart. Had I listen to myself and not the desire to make a good impression I would `not have complied, initially explained why this is not my job, and provided an alternative for someone in that department to perform the task. From that moment on it was firm in my mind that saying no was ok even if I have to provide an explanation or propose an alternative, whether it is an alternative person or timing. I still renege on that affirmation more than I would like to admit. It is ok to say no. We have this self-created fear that the other person may feel bad or think we are being rude.
Normally I say yes to the daily small request because it may seem so simple. I have done this before doing it again won’t hurt I say. Yet, these little requests overtime become a time-consuming and stressful trend. I have learned to set boundaries with my co-workers. As much as I am flattered that I am the go-to person for the unattainable task I have to set boundaries in order not to overexert myself and fall behind on my assignments.
One thing I tell myself as I get older is that if the person is open-minded, he/she will understand when you say no. The bottom line is that I have been past situations where I was worried about saying no because I was afraid the person would be disappointed, or unhappy, and bridges would be burned. And while it took me time to convey the message, nothing bad happened from saying no.
Thank you for reading my blog.