Do you feel guilty whenever you say no to people (even when it’s what you really want)?
I used to be the same!
When I was younger, I used to say yes to going to parties and meeting up with people. Deep down, I knew that I would have to act like a different person, to pretend to have a good time, and that I was only saying yes because I was scared that they wouldn’t like me.
But I felt so bad saying no to people!
In reality, I would have saved myself SO much energy (and probably a lot of sleepless nights) if I had just said NO in the first place.
And I’m willing to bet you have similar feelings.
That’s why in this blog post I’m going to teach you how to say no WITHOUT feeling guilty using the A.S.S.E.R.T. method.
Why do we feel so guilty saying no?
I used to feel SO guilty for saying no.
I know now that I had SERIOUS limiting beliefs around wanting to fit in and thinking that I wasn’t “cool enough”.
I had a 1:1 coaching client with a similar issue. She was struggling with saying no because she was worried about hurting peoples’ feelings. She had this realization:
“I often find myself agonizing over the wording of saying no to an invitation – trying to strike the right balance between saying no but not hurting feelings. Also, I have realized that I am more sensitive than the average person, and not everyone’s soul will be destroyed by a no to their invitation, in fact, most people cope rather well and simply get on with life.”
Some other common reasons for feeling guilty for saying no are things like
- Not wanting to miss out on fun (FOMO)
- Not wanting to cause conflict
- Not wanting to burn bridges
- Not wanting to let anybody down who needs your help
We feel guilty for saying no because we USUALLY have a limiting belief hiding underneath our actions and beliefs.
You believe that you are in control of what other people think, believe or do.
But the truth is that MOST people don’t care as much as we think they do.
And the people that do have a problem with you setting boundaries?
You probably don’t want to spend too much time with them anyway.
Step 1: Assert your boundaries
Step number 1 of the ASSERT method is to assert your boundaries.
This is absolutely key!
Think about it- if people don’t know what your boundaries are, can you get mad if they overstep them?
As well as having boundaries, it’s important to say WHY you have them so you can back yourself up.
Examples of boundaries that I keep all the time are:
- Never overbooking my time/rushing to get in between social engagements so I can keep my stress levels down
- When I worked in a part-time job, I would only ever say yes to a shift if I actually wanted it (not because I felt like I had to take it) otherwise I will resent my boss
- Scheduling my day so that I ALWAYS get time to myself in the afternoon (otherwise, Lucy gets cranky)
When you know what your boundaries are, and why you have them then you feel less guilty saying no.
Step 2- Self-Talk
Step number 2 is to examine your self-talk.
When you feel guilty for saying no, what are you saying to yourself?
Our self-talk can often reveal limiting beliefs that stop us from prioritizing yourself.
Take the client I mentioned above for example. Her self-talk might have been
“I can’t say no because that will hurt their feelings”.
But in reality, she didn’t know exactly what they were thinking. Really she had a limiting belief that she was responsible for the feelings of others.
Listening to your self-talk is critical in
Step 3- Simplify
One mistake that people often make when they are trying to say no without feeling guilty is that they over-explain.
If you remember one rule from this blog post? Remember to keep communication simple!
Step 4- Express
Once you have identified any limiting beliefs you have in situations, you need to actually say the words.
Saying what you actually think can be daunting-especially if you have never practiced before. But that’s the best part! Anybody can learn how to set better boundaries and say NO with confidence.
To express myself, I like to craft “I” statements, and keep the focus on myself. Your boundaries are NOT about the other person- so there is no need to feel guilty for saying exactly what you think!
Be brave, and practice saying exactly what you want.
Step 5- Release
In some cases, people won’t like you setting boundaries. They won’t like that you are prioritizing yourself.
Once you have said what you need to say, make sure you close the energetic pathway.
Remember: You can’t control what other people think and say.
Step 6- Take Responsibility
The number 1 thing I have to remind my clients of? You can’t use this method as an excuse to get out of things just because you are afraid.
If you truly want to do something, but your fears tell you to say no because you are “protecting your boundaries”, then you are avoiding saying YES to life!
Take responsibility and ownership for your decisions, and use them to reverse engineer your dream life.
I promise life’s much more fun that way xx
Want to learn how to say no without feeling guilty and take back control of your life?
In my upcoming course How To Say No 101, you will learn exactly how to set personal boundaries without feeling guilty, burning bridges or missing out on life.
As well as that, you will learn when to say YES so that you can live the life that you have been imagining!
Get on the wait list to be the first to know when enrolments open