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Health and Wellness, | 06.12.21

Learn to Set Limits and Say “NO”

Why is it so hard to ask for what I need in social situations? Why do I find it difficult to say no when other people offer me things or ask for a favor? I know what to do, but why can’t I seem to do it in social situations? If you’re asking yourself these questions, keep reading. Today, we’re talking all about why so many of us have difficulty setting limits, saying “no”, and asking for what we need.

Here’s the thing – reasonably, we usually know what to do in social situations to keep true to our goals and integrity. The trouble comes when the rubber meets the road, so to say, and we’re actually dealing with all the emotions of the moment. 

We can easily become convinced against asking for what we need for all sorts of reasons. Maybe we get swept up at the moment and start prioritizing what will make someone else comfortable, rather than what feels right for us. Sometimes we may mind-read that other people will judge us for saying no to certain foods or asking for sugar or flour-free options. Or in even some situations, people will comment or criticize the decisions we make around food or our self-care. 

Whatever the reason, we are usually driven by fear, shame, and anxiety to say yes when we mean no, say no when we mean yes, or stay silent when action is needed to take the best care of ourselves. 

But here’s the truth. When you totally check the facts on the fear and shame you are experiencing- when other people are having judgements about what we’re eating or the decisions we make, 99% of the time it’s absolutely NOT about us at all. Instead, it’s about their own discomfort, and oftentimes their own self-judgement. 

This fact can help us navigate the difficult pressure of the moment and speak up for what we need. Setting limits and remembering that saying “no” is a complete sentence. No more explanation is needed if you don’t want to give it. To navigate difficult questions like, “well, why are you saying no now?” you can say something as simple as, “I don’t feel like it today” or maybe something light-hearted like “I love that food, but that food doesn’t like me back!”

To navigate people not taking no for an answer, use the broken-record approach of repeating saying “no” with each pressuring comment. Eventually, people give up trying to convince us or accept that we can’t be swayed. 

All this to say, navigating social situations is tricky but there’s certainly a lot we can do to leave these encounters feeling in line with our truth and integrity. Give these tricks a try, and see how it works for you!

Photo by Erin Larson on Unsplash

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