Neuroscience indicates that the brain’s “negativity bias” treats a “no” as more dramatic and harsh in the brain than the positive stimulus of a “yes”.
No wonder so many of us shrink from saying it.
However, a recent Psychology Today article suggests there are five times when it’s very important to say “no”:
- When it keeps you true to your principles and values
- When it protects you from cheerful exploitation by others.
- When it keeps you focused on your own goals.
- When it protects you from abuse by others.
- When you need the strength to change course.
Saying “no” to something that may violate your values or may misuse your time is not necessarily being negative.
Saying “no” to someone who asks you to do something that you wouldn’t dream of asking anyone else to do isn’t necessarily being selfish.
Saying “no” to something worthy (like volunteering for a charity) is not something to feel badly about if it will interfere with other priorities, like spending quality with your family, or on your schoolwork, or other important goals.
Saying “no” to verbal or physical abuse by not tolerating it and drawing a line or taking action to remove yourself safely, is a mark of self-respect.
Saying “no” to a once-promising job, school or relationship that now makes you profoundly unhappy is not necessarily being irresolute or flakey.
Is there anything your intuition wants you to say “no” to?
Honor your values and yourself by giving yourself permission to say (and act on) that “no”.
Next week, I’ll write about how to sweeten your “no”.
And may we pursue our paths, honoring our priorities, and ourselves,