How to learn to say "no" and defend your opinion

Alina PolishchukLife
How to learn to say "no" and defend your opinion

Sometimes people have to do things differently than they want to. Some people are afraid of offending the other person by refusing, while others are deliberately trying to please. But in both cases, you are not doing what you want to do with your time. At such moments, other people receive certain services or material values at the expense of your unconscious desire to please. My name is Alina Polishchuk, I am a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, and in this article I will teach you how to say "no" and tell you how to defend your own opinion.

Let's look at the main signs that you are pleasing people and allowing them to take advantage of you:

  1. You constantly put your wants and needs on hold. You always do what others ask you to do first, and put your own interests behind you.
  2. You find it difficult to say no.
  3. You feel guilty when you say no to people. You don't want to disappoint them.
  4. You are afraid that if you say no, you will be considered selfish.
  5. You agree to things you don't like or do things you don't want to do.
  6. You are concerned about what others might think of you.
  7. You want people to like you and think that doing things for them will earn you their approval.
  8. You are constantly apologizing, even when it is inappropriate. You think you need to say "I'm sorry" too often.
  9. You take the blame even when you are not guilty of anything.
  10. If you take a close look at how you spend your time, you will see that you have no free time because someone always needs something from you and you never say no.
  11. You pretend to agree with people, even though you feel differently. It is difficult for you to express your opinion.

If you see yourself in at least a few of these points, you need to correct the situation. As a psychologist, I always start therapy by offering to understand together where the habit of pleasing others came from. In fact, this is not just one of the most toxic habits. It is a model of behavior that works automatically. And it was formed in my childhood due to certain circumstances.

It was facilitated by parents who:

  • were too authoritarian and demanded complete submission in all areas of life,
  • did not notice the child's successes and devalued him or her,
  • constantly compared the child with peers,
  • demanded diligence and unquestioning obedience,
  • never praised the child,
  • did not believe in the child's success and endeavors,
  • devalued their child's opinion,
  • did not trust the child,
  • controlled every step and did not give the child the right to choose.

In such cases, the child adapted by fitting into the family model. And this was the only possible way to survive, although it sounds scary for each of us. Over time, the child became what their parents wanted them to be: obedient, diligent, good at school, good at sports/going to clubs, not arguing, not talking about their desires, taking care of younger brothers/sisters, fulfilling all assignments and responsibilities without question, making friends with those whom their parents approved, dressing and behaving as they said.... The child saw the positive reaction of the parents to his or her actions, received emotional satisfaction, and recorded this way of behavior as correct. Thus, a habit of pleasing was formed, and not only parents.

If you recognize yourself, the good news is that you are no longer a child and you do not need to earn the love of others through obedience and pleasing. You are an individual and should communicate with others on an equal footing, taking care of yourself and your desires.

To get rid of a bad habit, I'll give you some tips:

  1. Work on your self-esteem.
  2. Value yourself as a person.
  3. Set personal boundaries and defend them.
  4. Learn to listen to yourself.
  5. Set priorities. Do you need to clarify that they should be related to your needs?
  6. Do what's best for you, don't wait for approval from others.
  7. Don't let other people impose their opinions.
  8. Learn to say "no," but it should sound clear so that people understand that this is your firm position.
  9. Don't suffer from pangs of conscience after refusing someone.
  10. You can't be perfect for everyone. Someone will always be unhappy.

Remember, a person who forgets about their desires gradually loses their personality. Therefore, when you say "NO" to others, you are saying "YES" to yourself! You give yourself a chance to live your own life.

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