Why are we so Afraid to Deny Ourselves and say NO?

In today’s society we have more choices than we have ever had before. This is both a great thing and not so great thing. It is a great thing because our options to choose from are much better and our ability to find and locate these options is easier. This helps us to hopefully make better choices that save us money and perform better which will save us time.

It can be a not so great thing as well because it can lead to the feeling of always choosing the easiest or first option, or the opposite of wasting time trying to find the best option when what you have or need is more than good enough. The problem is with no limits placed on ourselves because of how many choices we have, we never get the chance to deny ourselves and say no. You might be asking yourself “Why would I want to deny myself if I can get something and it doesn’t cause me any pain and gives me pleasure? Wouldn’t that be considering a good thing?”

When you don’t deny yourself the biggest problem is you lower your opportunities to practice self-discipline which can lead to a host of other problems such as not having clarity on your goals, being distracted by things that are unimportant or not important at that particular time, and learning how to say no when it comes to your time and money. If you do not deny yourself, it can have a major impact when it comes to time since your time is your most limited resource. We can do anything, but we can not do everything. Prioritizing your time and guarding it to only do the things you most enjoy or are the most important,  requires you to say no more than you probably would like or are used to.

If you say yes to everything or go with whatever feels good at the moment you can lose the ability to see the big picture for your finances too. Little purchases don’t seem bad in the moment, but add up significantly over time. Whenever you go out to the mall, go out to eat every Friday, or shop online without direction, it can become a habit that makes it hard to save and prioritize your spending. When you make little purchases that are not budgeted for or planned and go with the flow of what feels good, you are losing out on the ability to truly manage your finances and know what is important.

Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash
We need to stop more and really think about the choices we make.

Having so many choices is stressful and depletes your willpower. It also makes it hard to focus on what is most important and urgent. We as humans like to think that we can make the right choice every time, but unfortunately we are bad with decisions and when willpower is low, making the right choice is even harder. That’s why denying ourselves is a good thing in the long run even if it might not be fun in the moment.

One comment

  1. Good post. The Heath Brothers in their book Switch point out a similar pattern. To get people to change we need to narrow choices and be very clear about what we behavior we are asking for. You make the same point about limiting our choices intentionally.

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