I struggle with saying “no”, not because I am a wimp and have low self-esteem but because I don’t like to see the look of hurt or disappointment on anyone’s face. However, as I have gotten older, I realize that the two most precious commodities we have are good health and time. Now I spend my time more cautiously and say “no” to things that pull me away from my stated goals and objectives. Also, if saying “yes” means that I am physically hurting myself, then I have no compunction in saying “no”. It has not gotten any easier, but I think of how I would feel if I said “yes” and if my mind is not at peace with saying “yes”, then I say “no”. However, despite my best efforts, I still occasionally get caught off guard and say “yes” when I really should have said “no” and that can be very annoying. When was the last time you said “yes”, but should have said “no”? Do you remember how you felt? More than likely you felt some degree of resentment. The feeling of resentment may be overt or subconscious, either way it will negatively impact your actions and change the dynamics of your relationship with that person; thus, it is imperative that you learn to say “no” politely even if some recipients would rather you said “yes” all the time to their wants and needs.
“I am so sorry; at this time my schedule is so packed, I cannot take on another project”. “I would love to help but I am not available today, I have prior commitments”. Those two phrases should cover most situations and the sting of rejection can often be softened if they are said with a smile. It is not what you say, but how you say it, so say it politely and hopefully everyone will be happy.