Do You Dare To Say “NO” ?

Read along and discover how you can become a healthier and happier you

  • “Yes, of course, I will help”
  • “Yes, thank you”
  • “Yes, I would like that”
  • “Yes, sure I’ll do that”

Do you sometimes want to just roar “NO, I do not want to do that!”?

Or just to delete some of your “to-do-tasks”, duties and requirements that demand you to be super-ready to perform 24-7? 

Do I now have to be ready for change again?

Did you know that stability is healthier than constant development? 

There is nothing wrong with personal development, but it must be controlled and desired by yourself. 

This is not necessarily the case today, where companies and managers want people to develop and work faster and take more tasks on all the time. Both mentally and physically. We must achieve results and think ahead. But we humans existentially need to make roots and also stay steady. We can not keep up with changes all the time.

For an employee interview, your manager often asks, “Where would you like to be in three years?” However, a talented leader could instead ask the question: “What are you most happy about in your work, and what do we do to maintain that joy?”. It can be very healthy to focus on stability and continuity instead of constant change. 

I struggle to be perfect?

Drop all quick-fixes – life IS just messy. There is not a problem you can not fix according to all the advice we can read in the tremendous amount of books for self-development. Are you shy, jealous, afraid of heights, too temperamental, too sensitive, a sugar junkie or addicted to Facebook or streaming TV series, then there are always ten steps that make you more complete, according to self-development books. 

Say NO to your urge for an easy solution to whatever you are unhappy with because it does not work. And it’s actually okay to be imperfect! 

We read self-development books because we need a direction in life, and that’s very understandable, but perhaps it makes more sense to read novels ;-). They show that life is messy and difficult and not something we can always easily overcome. 

Can I trust my gut feeling?

Imagine, if your colleague encourages you to just thoroughly check your gut feeling if you have time and energy for more tasks, then take a deep breath and see if you honestly feel like you can. If you can not you will know it, your gut feeling will tell you to say “no, I can not take more tasks on right now”. 

However, sometimes you need to just think twice before you give in to your gut feeling. Imagine a situation where you are walking around with a screaming infant in your arms. Here, your gut feeling may well be that you want to get away as soon as possible. Of course, you do not give in to that gut feeling, but the situation illustrates that we can not always use our immediate feeling in a situation to make a decision. 

We need to take a little time and breath deeply, and if there is time, then “sleeping on it” before making a decision, is always a good thing. 

I can not cope with being “on” all the time?

We get stressed from having to develop all the time. Maybe not from concrete demands, for example, to get to know a new IT system, but from demands for emotional development, where we must be strong, empathetic, brave, social and cooperative all the time. 

The result is a whole epidemic of stress – and the way we tackle it is to give the stress sufferer a sick note and a coach. In this way, stress becomes an individual problem instead of a common problem in the workplace. 

We must say no to a solution model where we as the employee is the problem. Even though it can be difficult to address at work. 

I drown in meetings


Learn to use the “constructive no” – so you can take care of your work. Many meetings are perceived as deadly urgent and often prevent us from performing our actual tasks. We end up with an even bigger workload and more stress than if we just asked for the minutes of meetings. 

 If you have a professional boss, you should be able to say no thanks to a meeting.

Everyone demands and wishes something from me

Say only yes to those who really count. 

There are probably new and old colleagues, classmates, cousins, childhood friends, a grandmother and a thousand other people that you would like to see. 

We tend to overbook our time, so we do not disappoint anyone and especially we try not to miss out on anything. We can be almost anxious to say no to socializing. 

However, it is the deep and long-lasting relationships that matter to your happiness, so it is a better strategy to cultivate fewer friends, but in return do it properly.

What should I choose?

Can happiness also be saying “no” to yourself? 

There are studies that show that when we really feel a meaning to our life, is when we do something for others. Compassion.

In our relationship with, for example, our children, we have a duty that does not change all the time. If you want to train for a triathlon, then ask yourself what duties you neglect in relation to your children while training – and actually, it is a relief to acknowledge. Perhaps you can set a different goal or prioritise some other things differently in your life if the triathlon is that important. Perhaps a “no, the triathlon will be next year instead” is also a compromise, and saying no to yourself at this very moment. But prioritising and daring to say no to whoever it is, is essential for our happiness. 


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