Therapy: Importance Of Saying No

Are you the type of person who does not know the importance of saying no?  

A therapist explains the importance of saying “NO” if speaking that two-syllable word is about staying true to yourself.

Do you base your decisions on how others will perceive you? Do you worry too much, feel guilty when you turned someone down to the point where you end up asking yourself, “Have I done the right thing?”

There is nothing wrong when you think and consider other people’s happiness, but have you ever asked yourself, “Am I happy with my decision?” or “How about my own happiness?” What’s the importance of saying no?


It’s Nice To Be Nice But Not Terminally Nice

It is important to be nice sometimes but being extra nice to the point of sacrificing your own happiness is not healthy.  A therapist explains the importance of saying “NO” if speaking that two-syllable word is about staying true to yourself. Melanie McNally, PsyD, LCPC says, “Set boundaries. Maybe stress is piling up because you keep taking on additional work or saying yes to others when you really should be saying no.”  

“No” is a negative word, but it could sometimes actually have an important effect on leading a healthy lifestyle.  It is tough to say when you feel like you are giving up on others. It can make you feel sad and guilty knowing you are going to let someone you care about down.  It can also be heartbreaking, but according to an online therapy site who does counseling about empowering oneself, how can you be genuinely happy if you will say yes just for the sake of pleasing others and not because you sincerely mean saying it?

Saying no can sometimes be beneficial to you and others who are asking you favors.  It will test your relationship, your courage to stand up for what you believe, and other’s ability to accept rejection.  Saying no is not just about brushing off someone but is more about knowing what you want that will make you happy and being your own person, being completely honest with yourself. 

Before Answering Ask Yourself And Listen To Your Body’s Response

It will test your relationship, your courage to stand up for what you believe, and other’s ability to accept rejection.

When someone asks for a request or a favor, take a moment to ask yourself if you honestly want to do it.   If you think your answer is not clear, check with your body. Sometimes, the body sends signals that it does not want to do something, like a sudden headache or tummy ache, and others symptoms like feeling tired all of a sudden.  Your gut sometimes makes you think that something is not working for you, and it may be your body’s way of convincing you that something is not right. When you feel like this, well, there is nothing wrong if you will listen to your own body and think things over first.  Try to consult someone you trust or your therapist to be sure of your decision. Going against your body can sometimes lead to discontentment and unhappiness.


Be Yourself By Pleasing Yourself And Not Others

According to a saying by Thich Nhat Hanh, you need to be yourself to be beautiful, and you don’t need others’ acknowledgment. All you need is to acknowledge yourself. “You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually or express poorly who you are,” says Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D.


Our sadness and discontentment are sometimes caused by overthinking about others, wondering how they would feel or what they would say.  Remember that before we can make others happy, we need to be happy ourselves. How can you share with someone something which you don’t have?  How can you be honest with them if you can’t be honest with yourself?


Learn The Art Of Saying No


“The most helpful definition of being positive is having hope and confidence in one’s ability to handle what’s tough, along with remembering that nothing is all negative all the time,” explains Jo Eckler, PsyD, a therapist in Austin, Texas. Avoid regretting your decisions just because you want to please people.   If saying no is quite a struggle for you, practice by starting saying no to little things.  When your phone rings and a telemarketer is disrupting you, don’t give elaborate excuses. Just tell her honestly that you are busy or you are not interested.  Then you can move on to declining an invitation not needing to say lies about you being sick or whatever. Just tell your friend you are not into it at the moment, or you have prior plans.   If you plan to take a rest after a busy and tiring day, there is nothing wrong with telling him directly that you are tired and just want to rest. You can say no without being rude. There are many ways you can politely decline a request, and sometimes saying no is enough.


You deserve to give yourself a break sometimes, and you don’t need to be sorry for pleasing yourself by being yourself, and you don’t need to be guilty of being honest.  Every so often, we need to be fair to ourselves even if it will mean rejection to others, especially when saying no can lead to our own happiness.