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Why Saying “No” is Hard

Do you find yourself struggling to say “no” when you need to? Have you ever wondered why it seems easier for others to say “no” but it feels challenging for you? Here are a few things to consider if you’re finding yourself struggling to say “no” when you’d like to.

  1. Support: The people you have in your life supporting you has a direct impact on your difficulty asking for help. If you have people in your life that often do not show respect for your opinion, pressure you to say “yes” even if you don’t want to, or make things difficult for you if you disagree with them, it’s likely they are helping create an environment that makes it difficult to say “no.”
  2. Pleasing Others: Do you genuinely want to please others and make them happy? Even if it costs you something in return? Maybe you’re looking for approval from others to feel better about yourself or worthy of their relationship. Perhaps you grew up in a family where it was your job to keep the peace and please your parents. If you feel you resonate with being a people pleaser, saying “no” to others when you need to will feel challenging.
  3. Worry: Are you someone that spends time thinking about what others think and worrying about people liking you? Do you often replay social interactions in your mind after the fact and worry about how people perceived what you said? Or, are you overwhelmed with the fact that saying “no” to certain people may drastically change their view of you and your relationship with them? Feeling worried about what might happen or change if we say “no” to others can be a roadblock.
  4. Poor Confidence: Not feeling confident in ourselves can make it challenging to say “no” to others. If we are not feeling confident in ourselves or our relationships, it may feel easier for us to avoid disagreements, express our difference in opinions, or speak up for ourselves when we need to.
  5. Sense of Self: Who are you? What do you actually want, need, and like? Having a limited understanding of who you are and what you genuinely want in relationships and life plays a role in one’s ability to speak up for yourself and say “no” when needed.
  6. Boundaries: Are you finding it hard to set healthy boundaries in relationships? Do you often feel guilt for declining offers, disagreeing with others, or respecting your own wants and needs? If so, your boundaries within relationships may be creating difficulty for you to feel comfortable expressing your needs and saying “no.”

If you feel that any of the above factors are contributing to your difficulty or inability to say “yes” to yourself, even if that means saying “no” to others, it may be time to make some changes to better support yourself. Psychotherapy for Women, LLC understands it can feel overwhelming and difficult to begin addressing these barriers, and that’s why we offer support in helping you do so. Reach out today for a free telephone consultation to learn how we can help you begin to say “yes” to yourself.