A Powerful Way To Improve Self Esteem: Say No
In our daily lives, we are faced with a lot of negativity that doesn’t help us improve self esteem. From being sad at work, complaining, or simply having a rough day. And worse, some end up rejected.
These are some of the harsh realities and it can be exhausting. These things can take a toll on even the most positive person.
While some would complain we’re being a stick in the mud, some might consider having a shift in mindset. Some people will put things in their own hands by saying yes to things. This can be in hopes of lifting themselves back on their feet. It’s kind of the idea of the movie “Yes Man” where Jim Carrey’s character started to say yes to everything.
The problem with that though is that doesn’t always work. Much like in the movie, the character realized the issue behind saying yes to everything. It can get to a point where you lose who you are and what you represent.
This is why I believe an important and powerful method to improve self esteem is to actually say no.
I know this may sound counter-intuitive, after all, it is the word no we are talking about. If you are constantly saying no to everything, then you will not get anywhere. Not to mention you’ll sound like you are a stick in the mud who never does anything.
But that’s not the case.
First I’m not saying to constantly say no, nor am I suggesting you say yes to everything either. What I’m suggesting is a balance of it. Furthermore to rely on that balance once you understand your values.
This is the power of saying no at work and it can do a variety of things. But above all, it can improve self esteem.
Understand Yourself First
To make saying no improve self esteem, the first thing you need is an understanding of who you are. By paying attention to how you feel during certain situations, you can determine your limits. The truth with limits is that limits are entirely self-made. It’s the glass ceiling figuratively speaking that sets how high you’ll go. Confidence is, of course, breaking those limits, but in order to break them, one must know where they are.
All of this can be judged based on your own feelings. Whether you want to be saying yes or no in certain situations.
We all have limiting mindsets to some extent, but there are ways around it. For example, it can be limiting for us to think we can make $100,000 a year when we’re barely making half that. At the same time, it might not be limiting for us to make an extra $10,000 over the year.
Understanding where our limits are is one way we can work around them. For one, they can allow us to break things down into pieces and improve self esteem. It’s those limitations that we have to say no to and continue to pursue by breaking tasks down. There will surely be other obstacles in achieving that particular goal in the future as well.
But through breaking those limitations we can begin to understand ourselves. We know where our belief rests and where exactly we can improve. This is all done through our own personal discovery.
Discovery Through The Journey
Another way you can spin it is when we understand our boundaries we can identify who we are as a person. So not only can we learn about ourselves through our supposed limits, we can also discover through the journey. According to Sarri Gilman – a psychotherapist who did a TEDx talk on the subject – she described this act as discovering our inner compass.
We all have this inner compass which tells us whether to say yes or no to something. You can also tell by how you are feeling at that moment too. Conflict arises however when we go against that compass.
This conflict can be due to our intuition not being properly tuned with ourselves. An example would be people pursuing a career we aren’t passionate about. Fixing the conflict though is simple: merely spending time with ourselves.
We can do that by meditating and paying close attention to our thoughts and feelings, amongst other actions.
Not to mention, meditation and listening to our true feelings can improve self esteem as well.
The idea behind the discovery is to fine-tune your inner compass and understand your limitations. This can allow you to see what is causing the problems in your life. The only way you can become happier and be more confident in yourself is to follow a path that you truly enjoy.
In Order To Say No…
In order for us to start saying no and stand up for what we believe in, we first need to understand our position. This means understanding our intuition, this inner wisdom that Gilman talked about. Here are some other methods to consider as well.
Furthermore, we have to learn how we can tolerate others reactions as well. Saying no can be met with some difficult situations. A lot of us have a tough time handling rejection and some will lash out. We won’t know initially how people will react, so it’s best to be prepared. Even the strongest of people will still feel it stings. However, others can’t control their emotions and feel angry or disappointed.
It’s in this situation where you can improve self esteem for yourself.
First of all, you may not want to say no due to what might actually happen. The thing is you won’t know what’ll happen until you say it. If you understand yourself and know that you want to say no, then say it. But there are ways of making the sting not as painful.
Some options you can consider are:
- Helping the other person in some other way. This can be done by communicating your feelings and explaining your reasoning. It’ll also help in creating more understanding between one another, deepening relationships.
- Avoid setting boundaries. Any kind of limitations can cause strains in relationships. Emotions left unaddressed or statements not mentioned can boil and erode relationships. So make sure you talk it out.
- Standing firm in what you believe in. Of course, it’s a powerful tool to improve self esteem, but it can rub off on other people. Confidence can affect other people in positive ways.
Of course, these tactics are situational based on how people react to your answer. No matter what though, it’s important for you to stick to your values.
Saying No At The Right Time
With all of that said, saying no all the time does wear out its effects. As I mentioned above, constantly saying no can drag people around you. No one likes a stick in the mud and saying no all the time gives you no benefits while straining relationships.
Furthermore, saying no all the time keeps us immobile. We are not moving backward on our own, but we are not moving forward with everyone else.
At the same time, if we are fixing the problem by saying yes all the time, nothing will ever get fully completed. Take this story for example.
If we find ourselves constantly saying yes all the time, we will be spending all of our time helping others. While nice, it doesn’t help our situation or help us achieve our own goals.
As such we need to learn to say no at the right times rather than constantly. One way is certainly listening to our inner compass and following our feelings like I mentioned above.
But how do we figure out our feelings and stances on things?
While we can understand our values through self discovery, it doesn’t explain the finer points to them. For example, some of our opinions can be based solely on what other people have said but not what we believe. We wouldn’t know that if we focused on how we feel about particular things.
In order to explore our beliefs and our stance on things, it’s important to ask questions. Examples of questions are:
- Do I truly want to do this? Why?
- What do I gain out of following through with this?
- What has this person done for me lately?
Through questions, we learn about ourselves and can get a better idea of what we need to do next in our lives. From finding a way to improve self esteem to discovering our path, questions can help in discovering that.
The Power Of No
Once we have a grasp of who we are and where we want to go, we can start using the power of no.
No, in the end, is like an affirmation of what we value. Saying no and meaning it can help you in carving out who you are as a person. Think of saying no and meaning it as adding another layer to our own personality. People change and grow over time. So by keeping our values open, this helps in growing ourselves and understanding ourselves.
Some things we can say yes to and as we grow we may say no to. Our priorities shift for a variety of reasons. But it’s understanding that and knowing why we are doing that is key.
No in a sense is how we can define our morals and values at the current time. We say no to things that we don’t agree with like abuse and rape. It’s in those stances where actions are performed. It’s what compels some people to stand up against bullies or against abusers.
That takes a lot of courage, however, a strong conviction in what we stand for goes a long way to improve self esteem.
No can also protect us from people who take advantage of you. A lot of people at times have expectations or even demand your help. Part of that can stem from the fact they know you don’t say no or find it difficult to turn them down. This only ruins relationships as people get steered and controlled in the way that the other wants them to.
This is why it’s so dangerous to be constantly saying yes. People will treat you as more of a doormat as opposed to a human being. Why this happens can be for a number of reasons, however, we can be certain low self esteem can be one of those issues.
By saying no we are drawing that line in the sand and push people who would take advantage of our generosity.
You Can Say No And Improve Self Esteem
To improve self esteem means a lot of times doing things that you don’t necessarily want to do. Standing up for what you believe in can be difficult and people will knock you down for it. However by saying no, and saying it at the right times, you’ll begin to understand that to improve self esteem, you have to do things your own way.
Saying no at times may make you look like a bad person, but it’s okay. In the end, you are the person that has to live with your decisions and sometimes saying no can lead to the best opportunities for you. I probably wouldn’t be writing on this site today if it wasn’t for me saying no at some key points in my life.
You can improve self esteem immensely through this power – when used properly – so devote time to practicing it. While you learn to say no you also learn what is right for you and what it is that you value.
To your development!
Eric S Burdon