How to Say "No" (Without Feeling Guilty)



Learning to say no. Learning to state your wants and needs while respecting other people, is a valuable skill. Do you find yourself running around trying to please everyone because you don't want to hurt their feelings? Do you end up exhausted and resentful because no one asks what you need? Maybe you find yourself making snarky little comments because you are sick to death of taking care of everyone. And once in awhile you find yourself exploding, yelling and screaming because you just 'can't take it anymore.' If you can relate to any of this, you're not alone!


In talking about what assertiveness is and how to be assertive, I often find it helpful to first discuss what assertiveness is not. Other ways to interact with people include being passive, passive-aggressive and aggressive. Let's look at each of these and see which ones you can relate to.


Passive: If you Google passive (as I just did!) the definition you would find is, 'accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance.'


That's a perfect description. Often people will talk about being a 'doormat'. Or about letting others 'walk all over me.' Being passive increases anxiety and depression. Is it any wonder? It is so difficult to walk through life and let everyone dictate what your world looks like. What actions you take. What you think. Even who you are. Being passive can be exhausting!