Learning to say no is a challenge and a half. Learning to say no, regret free is a whole other world of challenges. Saying no with confidence takes time to develop. Confidence needs to be built up. It doesn’t just happen over night. Regret will pop in to say hello accompanied by its best friend the guilt. Again, practice makes perfect and is needed when working on developing your saying no skills.
The word “No” is critical to success. We have all been there. We are ready to say no, our mind is made up but then out of the wood works comes an emotion that makes us say yes. Relationships are prone to this phenomena. Reality is always different than what we envision. Is this a flaw? Is this a preset we have? Is this something that can’t be fixed where we are destined to continue in the same old failure mentality loop?
Let’s actually see what happens shall we?
A situation arises with our intimate relationship. In the process of working through the pros and cons in the situation we decide no matter what we will say no. There will be no breaking. However, as communication starts to ensue and our intimate partner turns up the charm (or mental games) our perception of the situation starts to change. Emotions regarding the situation start to elevate. This emotions are usually attached to the person (our intimate partner) and fear starts to take over. Question phrased thoughts pop into our heads. The what if question is a really big one that often clouds our judgment. Before we know it we are torn between the two choices and an eventual break down occurs where we say yes.
So what is happening? Fear is building as emotions start to take over. We are actually starting to double guess ourselves. We start to double guess our ability to make the right choice on this particular situation as well as double guessing our ability to maintain respect and love for the relationship. This process begins to alter our perception of what is right and what is wrong. In the process start looking at all the options be viable choices weakening our strength to logically make a decision.
A client called me the other day. They were asking how to stop being the doormat in their horrible relationship with a narcissist. I asked them how many times do they say no and stick to it receive an expected answer of almost never. This of course was justified in true victim mentality. We deal with issues each and every day. When we are with a narcissist all issues become big bad issues that cause chaos. The individual could not see the negativity that was caused from their narcissist nor could they see that they were being taken advantage and manipulated not only on the big issues but on the small issues. The idea to stop being a doormat to anyone is to start saying no and sticking to it. It is the ability to begin living true to ones word and not breaking it for anyone.
So how does this story fit in?
Well quite simple, there are two things occurring here. The first is the promise we break with the other person who we said yes to when we wanted to say no. The other is the promise we make with ourselves. In true fashion we are breaking the trust of both relationships when we decide to go with yes instead of sticking with no.
If we think of this logically, when ever we make a decision, we are inherently making the choice based on our integrity level, life principles, and values. We are initially making the choice based on the experiences and knowledge that have helped shape those to what we have in our current present moment. The past present moments were different, we were not where we are today. This is why we do certain things today that we didn’t even consider before and of course why we don’t do things today that we considered before.
So what changes and manipulates our ability to keep the promise between the other person and ourselves. Simply put, emotion jumps in.
When fear steps into the picture we have an awful hard time trying to comprehend what do to with anyone situation. In the above case where a narcissist starts to enact critical manipulation tactics, fear starts to fill up cause the victim to abide by the demands or face the consequences. Fear once again wins the battle when it is up against logic.
What is actually happening when we get caught up in fear you ask? Well, simply put emotions take over in the logical thinking process. Notably the what if questions start to take over. The open ended question that will eat you alive. Fear you see starts deliver dosage after dosage of different scenarios which may occur that of course have no validity and provide nothing but negative chatter in the mind. We are clearly doing this on our own and usually cannot stop it until the situation comes to its end of the story. This is to say that we have no control until we start to work in continual practice to fix it through daily growth. Daily growth has to occur because this is not an overnight fix. We are actually training ourselves to trust ourselves. To grow confidence that will allow us to make the right decision at the right time.
How does this look?
Firstly, we need to accept that fear is there. Fear is growing on us. Fear is taking over. Does it matter if we know what the fear is? Well, it is good to know but reality is that until you really focus on what is going on you won’t actually know what the fear is steaming from to be able to really work on it. It takes time to really dig in. Some people however do know. They then either choose to work on it or hide it back inside justifying its existence. The goal however, is to acknowledge and accept it is there. In the above example, the client clearly is scared that if they say no and stick to it, then their love of life might leave them. Even though logic states that you need to start saying no for someone to respect and love you, this person has decided to let fear prevail and be in control.
Establishing the first step means we will start working with it. It is practice and not an overnight thing. So, what is step 2? Quite simply, accepting and acknowledging that emotions are taking over in the fight to make the right decisions. Clearly when we make a decision there needs to be both logic and emotional inputs that bring a balance to the equation such that we are able to make the right decision for ourselves. Being able to accept this idea gives us the opportunity to focus in on what emotions are starting to take over. It may not be the fear. But rather those little thoughts that creep in giving us a different perception of what is occurring and in turn starting a new narrative of the yes vs no decision to be made. When we are learning to say no we are actively saying that we will hold ourselves accountable to this process. This is the start we need.
Our most critical step is taking time to really look at what is happening with ourselves. In the normal day to day where there is not emotional influence, we run through the scenarios of what is best for us subconsciously. We look at the situation and we run it through our capable system analyzing it based on our integrity, values, and life principles. We are also looking at our life purpose and asking is this good for me. In this step we are actively doing this. We are saying, let me take some time and write this down. Let me think it, write it, see it. We are saying pushing emotions out of the way and really critically think this idea through. What is the value in saying yes and what is the value in saying no?
Lastly, looking at the brainstorm that happened we ask ourselves, what will I regret more and why? When will this regret really take place? What is the value of the regret and why will I punish myself for it? Is it worth it? This idea is very simple to comprehend. How much regret will happen? Can we not put it on a scale and measure it? We sure can. We can always do this as we are able to visualize this based on experience. We are also able to compare this to the end result we want to see. Simpy put, we are able to make our mind really spell it out for us on a logical manner to bring the emotional tenacity to take over back down to reality. We are able to then make a viable decision that makes sense.
How does this tie in with development. Well the last step is really not the last step. The last step is a check in with confidence. Not the confidence of the decision to be made but rather the confidence to make any decision right now. Our emotional thoughts have to be aligned with our purpose, values, principles and of course integrity. This is when we are centered. This is when we are able to make the best decisions for our selves. This is when regret does not follow the decision of saying yes when we should say no. This is when we finally start taking control of our life, showing respect and love to ourselves firstly, and then to others.
In this video we look at this idea of learning to say no with no regrets, leaving you with no guilt, and rather full of confidence.
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