Why is it hard to say no?
All humans have a certain level of natural resistance towards saying no. There are historical reasons for it, which don’t have any relevance in the modern world.
In the past, being accepted by the tribe was a matter of life and death. Very often, if a tribe member didn’t follow the rules or went against the grain is some way, they would end up rejected – in practice kicked out of the cave where they could get eaten by wild animals.
Unfortunately, human brain struggles catching up with the modern civilization. These days going against the grain does not mean a death sentence, and yet – it feels very unsettling and uncomfortable. We are worried about what others will think and whether we will get rejected. This fear can be really intense. In our case the most common worry is what other people will think if we do not want to drink alcohol with them – I’m sure most of you can relate. If you feel like this, you must have this conversation with yourself every time you experience this fear. You can choose to think: “I am my own person and make my own choices. I don’t owe drinking to anyone. My decision to give up drinking is the right one and someone’s disapproval will not drive my actions. It’s safe for me to say no”.
What really helps is realising that fear and excitement are two very similar sensations. They feel almost the same, the only difference is your thought. If you want to trick your brain, you can keep telling yourself that you are actually feeling excited about expressing yourself, listening to your needs and practising boundaries.
Like with most things, the more you practice saying no, the better at it you become. Next time if you are asked to do something and you’d rather not do, take a big breath, say no without too much explaining yourself and see what happens. The world will not fall apart. People won’t start hating you. You won’t get eaten by wild animals. It’s probably much less of a deal than you make it. As you practice saying no, watch other people gaining new respect for you and your self-esteem growing.
I have worked with many clients who were people-pleasers in the past. There is nothing more satisfying than helping these women find their own voice and the new freedom of expressing what they really feel and think. It's so good to see them become who they were always meant to be.