Does saying ‘No’ feel like speaking a foreign language?

This week’s blog comes from Annie Ashdown, Confidence Coach, and a valued member of our Panel of Experts.  When we work with our clients who are experiencing the transition of becoming a parent and learning to manage their new role as a ‘working parent’, confidence is an issue which comes up for discussion in 99% of our workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions.

Annie shares her thoughts below on a trait which many of us can certainly identify with – a desire to ‘people please’ and therefore a fear of saying no.  As working parents, where you have to become experts at managing your time and priorities just to get through the day – we no longer have the luxury of being ‘people-pleasers’.


Have you been taught to say ‘Yes’ to keep everyone happy so now you feel ‘Yes’ is your only option?  

As a people-pleaser you have taught yourself to feel good because of all you do for everyone else. Therefore learning to say No will require you to reframe the feeding source to your self-esteem.

The issue here is that by being a chronic people-pleaser and addict to approval you will wear yourself out.  You cannot give away what you don’t have. You will either be full of resentment or confront a breaking point after which you will no longer be able to do everything for everybody on which your value has come to so crucially depend.

The fear of saying ‘No’ has far more to do with your own – long suppressed resentment that you may scream it out, rather than the mere word itself.

Consider this; if you give yourself permission to say ‘No’, you will build confidence and raise self-esteem. You will start gaining respect. You will start attracting givers as opposed to takers. You will protect your emotional, and physical health and well-being.

Saying ‘No’ won’t diminish your value in the eyes of others, far from it; it will enhance it. Remember you have become hooked on people-pleasing to gain approval and this can become an addiction. You believe that by saying yes you will avoid disapproval from others.

However this intense need for approval causes you to give away your power.


For more tips on boosting your confidence, see  I also recommend Annie’s book The Confidence Factor


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