How to Say No Without Saying No & Without Guilt

Do you feel like you are always ‘on’ for other people?

Whether you are one of life’s beautiful givers or feel the obligation of helping those around you, one day, you might have that wake-up call that says to you no more.

Hang on, helping others is your life purpose so how do you fulfil that need as well as taking care or your needs?

Instead of feeling like you are backed into a corner, telling the people around you to go away (silently or with your words), set your boundaries early on.

I know that’s easier said than done, especially if you need to do it with family and friends who are life-long relationships. Starting slowly might be the way to go or let go of some of the relationships that no longer serve your boundaries/needs.

So how do you set boundaries?

Get In Touch With What’s Important To You And Why

It’s about understanding your values and using them every day to make the right decisions for you.

Set Your Priorities

Have goals — ones that help you stay on course to what’s important to you every day, and ones that help you them done effortlessly. They need to be achievable (SMART) but not easy. It’s a slight distinction; however, the challenge keeps us interested and connected to them.

Get Clear

On who’s important to you and why. What is that you enjoy about the relationship? How do you flow together? Notice the connections where it’s one way. Is there anyone that pushes your buttons more than others?

Notice The Words You Say To Yourself When You Get Asked For Help

That inner voice and tension in your face, shoulders and gut are asking you to pay attention. Even small amounts of pressure add up to more significant periods of stress. These stressors give you messages that are warning signs you are not in alignment with what’s most important to you.

When you have helped them, how grateful are they?

Once you have done these things, then you can begin to set boundaries.

Using your words can still be a challenge. Let’s face it, from an early age; we are taught that No is an unpleasant word. As children, we are taught about rules and constraints. Sure sometimes it was to keep us safe, sometimes it was because our wants and needs did not line up to our parents, grandparents, teachers ability or desire to provide for us.

Instead of saying no, how about asking for what you want or need? How often are you doing that today?

A client said he had a problem with saying no; it weighed heavily on him and showed up as frustration and avoidance. He rarely said no, then one day, he turned his phone off, went for a long drive by himself and listened to some of his favourite music. He realised he had not had any alone time in a while. The people in his life missed him on this day. They were worried about him. He hit a wall and wasn’t able to talk to anyone. It was on his drive he realised that he was living everyone else’s life, and years had gone by without any focus on his health, fitness, interests. He loved the people in his life, which is why he had been such a supporter for others. He knew that he hadn’t been asking for what he needed as he had no clue what it was.

Before you respond, react or do when someone asks you for help, take a moment to pause. The power of the pause before you solve that problem will help you understand what you can do that’s possible for you based on your priorities, values and goals. When you are clear on what you need when you need and who is there with you, you’ll make more good decisions; the flow-on effect can only be good for others. For those who you have never said no to, of course, there will be some adjustments required. When you begin you might notice some people who aren’t around quite so much anymore. Your relationship may have been a one-way street. If you are a parent, I’m suggesting you apply a bit of logic here.

It’s not being selfish, it’s being respectful to yourself and others.

Here’s what to do…

Check-in with them to determine how you can help them, what’s really needed and when they need it. Ask yourself: does doing it align with your values and priorities.

If it’s not urgent, chances are they will solve it for themselves, or can contribute to solving it with you when you are ready.

Be empowered to do it — you owe it to yourself.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Lynda Tregoweth

Lynda Tregoweth

Executive Coach and Contributor. Passionate about helping people find their sweet spot, leadership, love, personal power and emotional intelligence.