An assertive 'no' is calm
A question that often comes up when exploring assertiveness is "What's the best way to say 'no'?" Actually what people often say is they have trouble saying the word at all. Or if they do, it comes over as heavy-handed or somehow forced.
Whether it's a fear of appearing rude, or a concern about the other person's reaction, saying 'no' can feel awkward or even impossible.
But it's important to be able to decline things! Especially as we enter the season of social expectations and demands - ho ho ho :0)
So here's a different perspective that might help. A 'no' is just a 'yes' to something else. When you say 'no' to something you are saying 'yes' to something that is important to you.
You just need to be very clear what your 'yes' is. Give yourself some time to think about it.
Knowing, and sharing what you want is an important part of being authentic. It makes saying 'no' feel more natural.
It also means you need less force when you do say it. There's no panic or rush to justify. No need to offer hasty excuses.
So if you aren't already clear about what your 'yes' is in a given situation, now is the time to stop focusing on all the things you don't want and connect with what you DO want.
When you are clear about your 'yes', you will find the 'no' you give will be calm, authentic and, most importantly, heard.
Sometimes we need some peace to know our own mind. Meditation can give us the space we need to recognise what's important to us. The act of mediating though can feel a bit complicated or esoteric. Here are two resources that can help get you started.
Super easy non-meditation meditation
This is the technique I currently use. I settled on it after many attempts at trying to meditate and finding it impossible to stop my mind from wandering...give it a try
There are many mediation apps available now. A lot come with monthly subscriptions. A fresh take on this is Buddhify.
The app has a one-off fee of £4.99 which unlocks a huge selection of high quality meditations. If you want to take it further there is an optional annual subscription too but you don't need it to get great guided meditation on demand.
In their words
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs