Saturday, December 29, 2012

Learning to Say NO!


Learning to Say NO!

“No” is a simple word but one that is anathema to many of us in modern society.
We are a society that wants to be liked. We want society to approve of us and give us the stamp of approval. However, learning to say “NO” is one of the greatest gifts were can bestow upon ourselves.

We all want to be liked and accepted. It is part of the human condition. But continuously saying “yes” when we want to say “I don’t know”, “maybe” or “NO”  causes additional work and stress for everybody. Those who say “yes” when they mean “no” are filled with resentments and often either abdicate their roles at a critical time or dutifully fulfill the obligation but without any passion or buy in.

Learning to say “no” and accepting that saying “no” is okay is something many of us do not learn until middle age. Somewhere around they age of 45 we accept that the world will survive without us and it is perfectly fine to opt out of an obligation or to decline to participate from the outset.

It took me a long time to learn the word “No”. I “volunteered” or agreed to chair too many committees or hold too may community service positions that I really didn’t want to hold to fit in. Part of the gifts of aging includes the understanding that saying “no” is a perfectly acceptable option.

A.     There is no need to provide an explanation. Just say “no”, I am not available to do that.

B.     It is okay to say “no” after you say yes, as long as there is no critical deadline in the immediate future.

C.     When one says “yes” when one means “no” one deprives others of an opportunity to excel who may really want to perform the task.

D.    Additional stress is rarely worth it.  Be true to yourself. Celebrate who you are by saying “NO”.

E.     Celebrate what is. Today I had a ski slope driveway covered in ice. My spouse and I had to clear it. Nobody else was available. We do not want ot UPS guy to sue us for having a dangerous walk or driveway – ergo, we dealt with the condition and removed the ice.

Practice saying “no” when you mean “no”. Even if you believe you have a moral duty to say yes, say “no”.  The world will not explode. It is okay. It is right to say “no” when you mean “no”. The person asking will find an alternative and it may be a better option.

This is a lesson I learned later in life, but it is a valuable lesson. The world will continue to turn without us. Say “yes” if you mean it, but stand firm with “no”if you don’t. Be true to yourself for a life of peace and serenity.

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