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Why Saying No Ain’t Selfish: The Art Of Saying No More Often

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Why Saying No Ain’t Selfish: The Art Of Saying No More Often

All through life, I’m ingrained with the pursuit to always be giving and be the helping hand. I comply, and always are ready to resolve issues for many. And it feels great to be able to be all serving. I am special and important in my circles. I have solutions for any problem. ‘Thank you’s’ echo continuously and many reflect how they would just not have been able to achieve without me. Words that affirm my worth and value.

Around the same time, many are laying out their current misfortunes and problems at my feet, in the perceived notion is that I will be always available to help out. But actually I have more goals ahead for my writing career that I truly desire. I need to balance my time and energy for others, while hoping to do more what I truly want to do.

Eventually, it starts to chain me down. The realization first hit me after I had left the motions of nine to five circles of life, out of the comfort zones of settling bills and filling the fridge each month. My personal productivity is down sliding and slipping out of my warm helping hands!

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Saying “No” Is Not Selfish, It’s Reality

Successful entrepreneurs are aware that their biggest downfalls are not saying ‘no’. Bypassing everyday urgencies and focusing on important issues starts with a simple skill and a small change by learning how to say’ no’

Everyday life is engorged with deadlines, family responsibilities, and social engagements, time ticks away. That is why learning how to say no regularly may just be the ultimate solution. Appreciate yourself and your own time. You need to realign, restore and recalibrate you. Many times,we sacrifice ourselves to please others.

Experience has thought me the crown of success cannot always come with being on standby emotionally and physically for all in need, as I will need fuel to spread my wings to the next mission on hand. This is not mean or selfish, it is a reality. Your personal goals are the priority and by time and energy to accomplish others goals instead of others your own you hinder your own growth.

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If you are unhappy and grumpy as your valuable time ticks away and opportunities bounce away, you become less of a commodity and your self-worth diminishes. You feel exhausted and inadequate. By focusing on ‘you’, success, motivation, and happiness will allow you to pass those features on to others.

Learn the Difference Between “I Can’t ” And “I Don’t “

Saying no is never easy, but envision it as an opportunity for you to let go. Many are in fear of appearing to be rude and do not want to let other people down that can sprout out in conflicts and bridges that might be burned. These are misconceptions as it is all about the manner the ‘no’ is delivered in, it is about value and respect for your space and for your time.

Heidi Grant Halvorson[1], the director at the Columbia University Motivation Science Center, noted the difference between the term “I don’t”  in comparison to I can’t. ‘

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“I can’t ” becomes a psychological draining method to say no, while ” I don’t ”  is psychologically empowering.

Researchers at the University of Houston[2] found volunteers who used the  “I don’t skip exercise” instead of saying  “I can’t skip exercise” dedicated more time to personal workouts. When you say ” I can’t “, it implies that you are not able to do it even if you might want to engage in something. It implies that you could if the circumstances differed. When you say ” I don’t “, you affirm that you have set a rule and there can be no debate about your decision. “I don’t ” is self-affirmation of personal willpower and will have a positive influence on self-empowerment.

These are not just phrases or words.They affirm your beliefs and serve as reminders of your plans and reasons why you do what you do. Become an architect of the words you choose when saying no.

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Say No with Authenticity and Respect

When someone we are close that need help, we immediately agree and many times are not realistic about the time commitments. This will lead to frustration, burnout, and resentment, and will be a misfortune. When you are uninterested, focus on being authentic and not just adhere to trying to maintain ‘likeability’. By saying no, you are actually giving out the power of self-reliance. If you are not ready to help the person out, they will find a way to sort out the issue themselves. Learning comes from finding a solution. Try to say these:

  • I am engaged with something else now and this is not a good time. We can see if it is possible at a later stage.
  • I will consider it and  let you know
  • I will not be the best person who can achieve this, I recommend…
  • I cannot commit to anything else right now as my priorities are set in for the moment

Let Go. You Can’t Please Everyone.

There will be people that oust you for saying no. Let go. Your true connections will understand your standpoint. You cannot please everyone. You have to help yourself and build positive energy and once you have achieved that, then, the energy can be shared. However, this is not possible if you are always trying to help others and leaving no spare time for yourself. This will not result in a positive outcome for you or the person you are attempting to help.

Practice saying no. Make it a mindful exercise. You will feel guilty initially but once you acknowledge the feeling and address the matter with respect to the other person, you will soon be conscious of the power of ‘no’. You always have a choice and if the matter at hand does not ignite your spirit, do not do it. Start spending moments to do what you want and lesser time drowning in what you do not want.

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Featured photo credit: Tree trunk : Just say No via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] I Don’t” versus “I Can’t”: When Empowered Refusal Motivates Goal-Directed Behavior, JSTOR
[2] “I Don’t” versus “I Can’t”:
When Empowered Refusal Motivates Goal-Directed Behavior, Research Paper

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Nena Tenacity

Nena is passionate about writing. She shares her everyday health and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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