We often find ourselves in situations where it feels easier to say ‘yes’ and to agree to the other person’s opinion. However, we end up making mistakes on account of this tendency to agree to everything. So, saying no is an important skill which helps one make decisions that work for you. Here’s how
1 Every individual has a viewpoint: Remember that every person has his/her point of view. This opinion, whether yours or somebody else’s, needs to be respected.
2 You can think for yourself: Recognise that you, too, can have a stand. Do not deny your ability to think through things and put forth your view.
3 Nothing wrong in being different: It is not always a bad thing to be different from the others. It only adds to the multiple perspectives that different individuals bring with them to the table. It’s okay to be different.
4 Do not follow others blindly: Evaluate the utility of doing something on the basis of your needs and thought processes. Decisions need to be based on the reality of your life and the things related to it.
5 What works for someone else may not work for you: It is not always necessary that what worked out for someone else would work for you too in the same way. Every individual is different and would have different needs based on their individual personality, needs and ways of coping with situations.
6 No aggression, please: Learn to be assertive. Do not be aggressive or restless when trying to express yourself. Say what works and does not for you and stand your ground.
7 Be confident and self-assured: Be confident about your ability to say ‘no’. Rely on your ability to determine what is right and what is wrong. Work towards what you feel is right.
8 Get your priorities right: Prioritise in a way that is based on your individual assessment of yourself and your life and not on what others around you think. Learn to make decisions in a well thought out manner.
9 Do not dismiss others outright: While it is important to learn to refuse to do or agree to something, it is also essential to recognise that it is not always prudent to dismiss someone’s point of view outright. So, listen and evaluate and make a decision keeping yourself in mind.
10 If in doubt, talk it out: If you are unsure about what you should do, then instead of blindly following people, talk to other people. Your family in particular would be able to guide you.
The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare