Learn How to Handle the Word "No"

Learn How to Handle the Word "No"

Last update: 14 October, 2016

There are thousands of texts that discuss the word “no.” It’s an important topic, but while you should learn how to deny yourself things when it’s appropriate, it’s also important to learn how to accept a “no” from other people. Of course, some “no”s are really difficult to accept, but the thing is that they happen to everyone, and in fact, they’re a great opportunity for improvement.

To learn how to recognize the importance of accepting a negative response, think about what would happen if everyone said “yes” to you. Imagine a child whose every wish was fulfilled. They’d surely turn out to be temperamental, insecure, and stubborn, and they wouldn’t value anything as much as it deserved. The same thing would happen with an adult, with anybody.

“Wanting the impossible is a sickness of intelligence.”


Most people can probably remember with enthusiasm the times when a “no” turned into a “yes.” This implies that effort, overcoming obstacles, and fighting for what you want is very gratifying. Reasonable limits don’t inhibit our freedom, but rather guarantee our mental health and development. We should often be thankful for these negative responses.

Limits provoke the desire to achieve. Difficulties activate our intellectual and emotional resources. They also allow us to grow, mature, and discover what we’re capable of being and doing. They help us to develop self-confidence and identify our place in the world.

The multiple benefits of hearing the word “no”

Deep down, nobody wants to hear “no” as a response, especially if the thing being denied is really important to you. When other people don’t want to continue their relationship with you, it can be devastating. Not getting your dream job, not being able to travel to your dream destination, not being approved for the student loan that you needed. All of these negative responses truly hurt.

woman with a bird on her head

But as much as it hurts to hear the word “no,” it can also bring you many benefits, which include the following:

  • It allows you to identify and accept other points of view. It’s important to learn that a negative response is rarely a rejection of you as a person. It simply means that the other person sees things differently.
  • It makes you reevaluate your objectives. It’s an excellent opportunity to weigh the importance of what you’re trying to achieve. Maybe you’ll end up reorganizing your priorities and changing your goals.
  • It points out your fantasies and obsessions. When you hear “no” again and again, maybe it’s a sign that you’re not ready for something. Maybe you’re being unnecessarily stubborn.
  • It stimulates your imagination and capacity for achievement. If it involves something you truly want or need to achieve, it can lead you to take more creative actions.

Getting over the “no”

Most of the best stories, and the best things about yourself, start with the word “no.” But so do the worst memories. As always, what’s important is how you handle what happened, not what happened itself. Receiving a negative response can reveal who you truly are.

man surrounded by tigers

At first, what “no” does is take people out of their comfort zone. It functions as a breaking point, whose message is simply: you can’t move forward. And your response can be unexpected, depending on the kind of person you are and how important the thing you were denied is to you. If you’re immature, you’ll respond with a tantrum. If you’re confident in yourself, you’ll accept the challenge.

The first step towards getting over the “no” is to accept it. And accepting it involves understanding that denying you something is a legitimate option for your employer, partner, financial system, or whatever it may be. Nobody earns things simply because they want it a lot or because they are who they are.

drawing of a woman

The second step is to review your most intimate desiresIs the thing you want, you insist on having, really that important? What are the hidden messages behind this negative response? Does it mean you’re not capable, not ready, or on the wrong path? Does it mean that you weren’t properly recognized, or that you misread the situation? The answers to these questions will take you to the next level.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.