Individual Counseling – Learning an Authentic NO


Individual counseling with Take Charge Inc can help you learn how to say a true, authentic NO. Many of us hesitate to say no to others. It’s just two simple letters, and yet saying no can feel really hard — most times even complicated. To many of us, saying no doesn’t just feel awkward – it feels wrong. Here’s the good news: Saying no is a skill you can sharpen; the more you say no, the more natural it feels.

Saying “no” is important because it allows you to set boundaries and prioritize your own needs and well-being. When your body says no, please listen. Repressed emotions, unspoken words and unclear boundaries are highly related to mental health symptoms we develop. Many people with underlying anxiety, depression and moodiness have repressed anger or unspoken “no’s” stuck in their bodies. Sometimes, we need to get some support from a trusted other or from therapy to help  1) identify the emotions and reactions inside and 2) to come up with a healthy strategy to help you get to resolution. Sometimes this is an internal one, on your own, and sometimes external, including a situation or other people. Individual counseling with Terri Dichiser at Take Charge Inc provides a safe, comfortable environment that allows you to put your thoughts and feeling into words, without fear of criticism or judgment. This will help you hone your skill of saying a true authentic NO.

There are several ways to build the skill of saying no in different situations — even if it feels like you’re doing it from the ground up. For starters, it’s important to realize that if saying no is tough for you, you’re not the only one. Social psychologist Dr. Vanessa K. Bohns writes in a 2016 research review examining people’s influence over others, “Many people agree to things — even things they would prefer not to do — simply to avoid the considerable discomfort of saying ‘no.’” As social creatures we want to be part of the flock, but we also want to preserve our relationships. Another common reason yes pours out of us? Our past. According to Dr. Emily Anhalt, a clinical psychologist, while growing up, you might’ve not learned to advocate for yourself. Moving forward, taking care of yourself, and learning to advocate for yourself are extremely important parts of healing that you can utilize with individual counseling. Saying no supports us in self-care proposals we can participate in such as creating space in our schedules to rest and recharge, engaging in activities that actually align with our current goals, and setting boundaries with loved ones or colleagues.

Sometimes, we say yes because we don’t know what we want. Other times, we simply need to gather ourselves enough to speak up. Either way, here’s permission to start thinking about what situations it would be best for you to decline. To kick-start the process, ask yourself some of these questions anytime you’re not clear about how to proceed:

  • Will saying yes keep me from focusing on something that’s more important?
  • Does this potential project, opportunity, or activity align with my values, beliefs, and goals?
  • What are my core values, beliefs, and current goals?
  • Will saying yes make me even more tired or burnt out?
  • Will saying yes be good for my mental health? Or will it worsen my symptoms?
  • In the past, when have I said yes and then ended up regretting it?
  • When am I more likely to accept a request that I’d rather decline? How can I reduce these instances?

Learning to say an authentic “no” means being able to say no in a way that is respectful, assertive, and true to your values and boundaries. Here are some tips for learning how to say a true authentic “no”:

  • Be clear and concise regarding what you’re saying no to and why. Avoid apologizing or making excuses, as this can weaken the effectiveness of your “no.”
  • Use “I” statements to express your needs and boundaries. For example, “I’m not comfortable with that” or “I need to prioritize my own needs right now.”
  • If you want to maintain a relationship with the person you’re saying no to, offer an alternative that is more aligned with your needs and values. For example, “I can’t do that, but I’d be happy to help in another way.”
  • Saying “no” can be difficult, especially if you’re used to saying “yes” to everything. Practice self-care activities, such as mindfulness or exercise, to help you feel more grounded and centered when setting boundaries.
  • Some people may not take your “no” well and may try to persuade or pressure you to change your mind. Be prepared for this and stand firm in your decision, remember that you have the right to set boundaries and prioritize your own needs.

If you need support in this process, contact Take Charge for individual counseling. Located in Overland Park Kansas, Terri offers more than 22 years of working with individuals and families. This extensive experience is instrumental in guiding clients to new ways of coping with life problems and finding constructive ways to deal with situations. Individual counseling is a collaborative effort. Terri will work with you to identify your goals -what you want to have happen – and help you reach your goals with consistent care. Contact us at (913) 239-8255 to ask a question or schedule an appointment for individual counseling today.

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