Learning to say ‘no’, key to emotional well-being

Have you ever accepted something that you did not dare to refuse? Have you felt Rage for being unable to prioritize your interests to those of others? Did you get the feeling that you would let someone down if you refused to do something? They are situations in which many people have found themselves at some time in their lives.


Being helpful, attentive and willing to help others are great qualities that can become a problem for those people incapable of
say no‘. Sometimes they can be damaged or end up saturated by always wanting to please others.

Thus, learn to set limits it is essential for emotional well-being. This is confirmed by Enric Soler, relational psychologist and collaborating professor of Psychology and Education studies at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

The origin is in low self-esteem

The difficulty saying ‘no’ has its origin in a low self-esteem and in the intention of always pleasing others. More people than we imagine have a negative perception of themselves and their worth, so they always try to seek third party approval.

“If we do not have enough value for ourselves and we are waiting for others to act as a mirror, we know that the easier we make things for them, the better accepted we will be,” adds Soler.

However, this eagerness to please others can be exhausting and lead us to a point of mental saturation that overwhelms us and alters our emotional well-being. Without a doubt, a situation that we must avoid.


How to learn to say ‘no’?

Saying ‘no’ is more complicated than it seems, although it is “essential to feel good about yourself and with others ”, admits the expert. “If you know how to set limits and have managed to make others respect them, you will come to the conclusion that they appreciate you for who you are and not for what you are offering them,” he insists.

One of the tactics that Enric Soler recommends in case we have accepted a request for commitment is To analize the situation and reflect on what has happened to us, in what context and with what people.

“This is how you learn to know yourself and you can analyze the thoughts and emotions that have made you say ‘yes’ when you actually wanted to say ‘no,’ ”he explains. And it is that knowing yourself is the first step to avoid situations of this type.

There are numerous techniques with which refuse a lawsuit, as the elemental assertiveness, which consists of exposing our refusal briefly, directly and without giving too many explanations.

We also find the empathic assertiveness, with which we put ourselves in the point of view of the other to understand their request and later give our point of view. Finally there is the assertive postponement, with which we postpone the decision until we feel more calm and able to respond appropriately.

Despite the existence of all these techniques, the key to overcoming the afraid to say ‘no‘and the difficulty in setting limits before other people is to improve our self-esteem and the self-concept we have of ourselves. It takes work and effort, but it is not impossible.