Why do so many of us find saying ‘no’ so hard or have feelings of guilt surrounding saying no?

Human survival and evolution has partly demanded safety in numbers. Isolation often resulted in demise. Fitting in and conforming was partly hardwired into human genes particularly when faced with challenging unknowns that only being part of the collective group could allow the individual to survive.

Few had the courage to lead and or stand out – to break through the reigning paradigm, to challenge the status quo, to transcend the traditional or conventional and to say no to the opportunistic requests of others.

So most people simply give in, and fit in, so they don’t have to face rejection and have to think independently of the crowd

The fear of rejection and isolation can trap people into conformity and altruistic sacrifice for the so-called good of others. In many cases this meant survival, but in others it meant the loss of the essential, or self-reliant self.

This is a Q&A style list of the most common questions people have surrounding the issue of being brave enough to say no

Because of the perceived ‘informality’ of our current communication methods (eg social media) are you seeing a rise in people who say ‘yes’ to things they never actually intend on doing?

With Facebook there may seem to appear a buffer from human accountability to statements previously made. The informality of Facebook can buffer the assumed security – like the assumed security of driving within the confines of an enclosed car. The pressure to fit in can be accentuated by the so-called security, but the actual transparency of lives that is now emerging with Facebook is also associated with bullying or rejection.

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How do you change your behaviour to start saying ‘no’, without people perceiving you as rude or that you’ve changed?

Simply practise saying no. “Thank you, but no thank you.” There are many diplomatic ways or blunt ways of saying ‘no’.

If you do not say yes to what is truly most meaningful and important, you will end up not having the courage to say no to that which is not

Foresight on what is truly most important or a priority, assists human beings in being able to say ‘no’ to outer opportunistic distractions and moral injunctions from others. Let no emotional blackmail distract you from what is meaningful and truly important to you.

When entering new relationships, how can we set boundaries and say ‘no’ when we want to?

By balancing out your perceptions of the individual you are dating you are less vulnerable to giving into their requests or behests.

When you over-value others you will tend to undervalue yourself.

The true you and your true priorities deserve to be in view and honoured if you intend to have a sustainable equitable relationship with others. Otherwise you will become trapped initially in a false façade complementary opposite to theirs.

If you do not respect yourself and be authentic why would you expect others to love you for who you are?

Give yourself permission to be you. And ask yourself how them being true to themselves serves you and how you being true to yourself serves them.

Once we start, does it get easier to say ‘no’?

In most cases, yes, since we will grow in the power of integrity and priority as we build incremental momentum and authenticity. But it all depends on the interaction and perception we have of others. The moment we exaggerate the importance of others we can minimise ourselves in turn.

We are not here to put people on pedestals or in pits. We are here to learn how to put them in our hearts.

We are here to learn how to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ equally according to true intrinsic values or priorities with sustainable equity. It is ultimately respectful for both parties.

Is saying ‘yes’ all the time just a form of conflict avoidance?

In many cases it can be, but if we try to prevent all wars on the outside we will live with ones on the inside. Conflict is inevitable in social life due to the full spectrum of values that exists within complementary counter-cultured society.

We have the illusive perceptions of supporters and challengers, friends and enemies within the world because of our impulsive and instinctive animal nature of seeking prey and avoiding predators within and because we have not probed deeper beyond our initial subjective labels and their outer facades.

Ultimately we all have both reflected masks in different settings. Maximum growth and development occurs at the border of support and challenge.

Can saying ‘no’ improve our mental health and wellbeing?

You remain in a state of integrity to your own highest values or priorities when you can honestly say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to potential opportunities that could distract you. This intrinsically driven wisdom results in awakening the executive function in your brain and more order and governance of your body – which gives rise to more wellness promoting eustress instead of illness promoting distress.

When you fill your day with the most important actions your self-worth rises and your physiology rallies and vitalises.

How can saying ‘no’ improve our relationships?

By saying ‘no’ you are less likely to accumulate incongruencies, internal conflicts, resentments and repression.

If you do not respect your time and priorities, don’t expect others to. When you value yourself and the use of your time, so will others. Respect and integrity of time use is essential of a sustainable relationship.

Both parties require a perception of fair exchange according to their values or priorities. Speak in terms of the benefits to others for being integral and true to you. Selling your true self is actually caring for humanity and exemplifying leadership.

To access more of Dr Demartini’s teachings, visit www.drdemartini.com