Why is it so hard to say no?


One of the main reasons we are afraid to say no is fear of offending or hurting another person. However, if we obey and do something just to avoid hurting others, we risk hurting ourselves by suppressing our own needs and hiding our real self.

My patients, who find it difficult to say no, often tell me that they feel a “duty to put themselves in the shoes of another”. They often insist that “if I were in the place of that person, I would like to be met halfway as I do”.

However, when it comes to what is more important, their own interests and the needs of others, most people think of themselves first. We live in a selfish world that forces us to push forward at any cost, regardless of the possible harm to others. Therefore, the assumption that others think the same way as you and are willing to serve you at the expense of their own interests is incorrect.

By learning to say no, you can apply this skill in a wide variety of areas of your life.

It is important to develop the ability to say “no” and not be led by other people’s requests that are unpleasant or undesirable for you. This skill is essential for building long-term and successful friendships, professional and loving relationships.

Once you learn, you can apply this skill in many different areas of your life.

8 reasons why we find it difficult to say no

• We do not want to hurt or hurt others

• We are afraid that others will not like

• We do not want to be considered selfish or just unpleasant people

• We have an obsessive need to always put ourselves in the shoes of another

• We were taught to always be “good”

• We are afraid to appear aggressive

• We don’t want to make another person angry

• We have problems with personal boundaries

By doing what we do not want to please others, we often indulge their weaknesses and vices, thereby developing their dependence on others or the belief that everyone owes them. If you notice that most of these reasons apply to you, then most likely you have serious problems with personal boundaries.

People who find it difficult to say “no” often feel cornered and selfish. If attempts to demonstrate confidence and to defend your interests generate negative emotions, individual or group psychotherapy can help with this.

Getting rid of the habitual pattern of behavior, you will feel free

If you still find it difficult to say no, remind yourself that you don’t have to say yes. By getting rid of the habitual pattern of behavior and ceasing to do what you do not want and give you discomfort, you will feel freedom.

By learning how to do this, you will become more confident, reduce communication with disingenuous and insincere people, and will be able to better build relationships with those who are really important to you.

And oddly enough, when you learn to say “no”, you will less and less have to do it, because others will understand that your words should be taken seriously.

About the author: Tarra Bates-Dufort is a psychologist and psychotherapist, an expert in family problems and work with psychological trauma.

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