We women frequently find ourselves doing things we do not enjoy, rather than things we do enjoy — particularly for the benefit other people. We sacrifice our own needs when we do things like pick up our brothers’ cars from the service centre, while forgetting to collect our own clothes from the drycleaners’. Thus, I think it is time for us to learn to say, “No,” assertively.

Stephen Covey is quoted as saying, “Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”

Women Must Say ‘No’ When They Mean ‘No’ –Why is it so difficult for them?

As women, we love to say, “Yes,” in all occasions. Ever wonder why we do this? Why can’t we say, “No,” directly and boldly, at once, like most men? The main variables that establish this difference between the male and female genders include the society and our biological conditions.

According to psychologist Susan Newman, the society engraves fear within both males and females relative to this situation. For men, the fear is to be labelled a “chicken.” If a guy does not boldly say, “No,” straightaway for favours like dog-sitting for the neighbour, he is considered a “wimp.” For women, it is the contrary: the fear is that we will be labelled as a mean, insensitive and selfish girl. Society has created a habit within us to constantly seek the approval of everyone else. We are given constant praise when we sacrifice our desires in order to keep everyone else around us happy. For instance, even in modern times, a mother who takes a break from her career to care for her child is praised more than a mother who leaves her kid at a childcare centre to follow her career. Thus, many women are inclined to think that a, “No,” means, “I don’t care about your happiness.”

Additionally, women’s biological functions ensure that we receive pleasure from helping others. When we do something that benefits someone else, optimistic hormones are released and the reward-centre of our brains becomes highly stimulated.

Read these 6 Personal Finance Books Women Must Read

Why Women Must Say ‘No’ When They Mean ‘No’’

Never create a reason to bear a grudge against yourself. If you end up saying, “Yes,” to something you hate doing, you will always resent yourself for agreeing to do it. Do not convince yourself to do something you don’t like by trying to justify it with statements like, “Well, I do possess the abilities to do it,” or, “I should be able to complete the task.” Even if you do possess the ideal skills that are essential for you to get the job done, but you hate doing such a task, or your gut feeling indicates that you must not do it, simply decline the offer to do it.

Sometimes, you may think that a job you are given can give you an extra opportunity to earn a hefty sum of money or can act as a catalyst for your career, so you say “Yes.” Conversely, you must remind yourself that you only have a chance of succeeding in such a gamble. If you cannot overcome how much you hate the task, you will fail to get what you want out of it.

If you consistently say, “Yes,” to people’s offers, requests and wants of favours, you will become a doormat for them. They will enjoy taking advantage of your generosity all the time. Rather than focusing on tasks to fulfil for yourself, you will end up spending all your time doing things for others.

Furthermore, you will actually be a bad influence to others if you fulfil their responsibilities all the time. Because of you, they won’t learn to be responsible and independent in life. As a result, they won’t fully develop the skills they require to survive. One day, they will realise their deficiencies and blame you for preventing them from learning from their mistakes by always helping and rescuing them.

Women Must Say ‘No’ When They Mean ‘No’ – How to do it politely?

Some of you ladies may still have trouble saying, “No.” Just remember that politely saying, “No,” is okay. Begin by learning to recognise the precursors that will indicate the arrival of an undesirable request to you. For example, someone may initiate the conversation with, “I know you are busy, but …” In such cases, mentally prepare yourself to reply, “I would really love to but I can’t.” If necessary, take some time to prepare yourself to say, “No,” after calming your nerves. Don’t say, “Yes,” out of pressure. Next, keep your, “No,” short.

There is no need to back it up with reasons or excuses. Just keep the conversation light. Finally, stop thinking about how you turned someone down. Don’t let yourself feel guilty at all. If you do feel guilty, think of the cons of agreeing with the offer or request in respect to yourself.

Read: How To Make A Million Dollars Fast

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).