The Importance of Saying No

We have all grown up learning the importance of saying of ‘no.’ As young adults we are taught that this form of assertion will keep us out of trouble, build, our confidence and ensure that we are not left remorseful, guilty or stressed for things that we have done. If we don’t want to do something or if we feel that we are being pressured even lightly to do something we know is wrong or that doesn’t sit right with our soul; we should say NO!’ Unfortunately we don’t!

As adults and especially as women we are constantly saying yes, yes, yes to every thing in effort to make sure that no one is disappointed and that we live up to some invisible expectations. Yes I will coach the softball team (event though I don’t really have time). Yes I would love to bake brownies for the school play (even though I cant cook), yes I will help you with your yard sale (even though my own house is a mess), Yes I will watch your kids (even though I have too many of my own) and Yes honey I will have sex with you tonight (even though that is the last thing you want to do). With all these yes’s we begin to say ‘yes’ out of habit when in reality we mean and affirm no in our hearts. The yes’s build up and add to our responsibilities and our growing feeling of dread about actually making it through yet another day of doing a thousand things that we don’t want to do. Welcome to adulthood, motherhood and womanhood! No thanks!

Even though women seem to be the ones who have forgotten the importance of saying no; men in their own way have a yes syndrome. They will do anything for and with a friend, co-worker or make counterpart because they just couldn’t tell them no (God forbid their buddies think the wife is in charge) yet passive aggressively they tell their wives ‘no’ all the time.

Some how through our values, virtues, morals or desire to be liked and accepted we have agreed in part that it is rude to say no. Just because someone is asking us to do something or go somewhere in no way means that turning down the offer is rude. Being honest about what we can handle and what we cant makes us responsible people. No matter what we do in life we have to leave room for taking care of ourselves. Saying yes to often takes all those fleeting moments that could be used for self therapy away and spreads ourselves even thinner than we already are. The importance of saying no is that by doing so we can save ourselves and our sanity. We can also save our yes’s for those things in life that truly resonate with us and that we truly want to do. There are plenty of opportunities in life for us to get stuck doing things e don’t want to. These come up every day. I don’t always want to drive my kids to school, of cook dinner and wash clothes. I don’t always want to watch cartoons or mow the grass. I don’t always want to be married or pay bills. Why add more to the list?

Another vital reason to recognize the importance of saying no is because by doing so; we can become even better at those things in life that we enjoy. By saying no we open up our schedules and minds to truly getting the most out of our life experience. It never feels good to feel bullied or pressured into doing something. It zaps the fun out of the experience from the beginning and in our minds we are constantly whining and complaining about having to do it. The solution just say no. No can be polite and well intended and no can be the best answer. It may not be what your best friend, child’s teacher or boss wants to hear but once you said it’the ordeal is over! The other benefit to learning to say no is that eventually people will quit asking you to do everything. When they realize that you will only do things you want to do and that saying no is no longer difficult for you to muster up, they will go and find the next wall flower to ask. These folks have you pegged, trust me! If a friend gets upset when we say no they are in my opinion not much of a friend. No friend would intentionally lead or pressure someone they care about into doing something they just don’t want to do.

Not having the time, desire, inclination, ability or know how to do something is not rude behavior. If we are busy, we are busy. If we don’t have the money, we don’t have the money. If we don’t have the desire, we don’t have the desire. Say No! Saying no can save yourself from getting into a lot of ugly situations and even save your sanity at times. If we can tell our children no, we can tell anyone no.

For those of you who have difficulty doing it, I offer these strategies. In the beginning of your just say no war try not to answer so quickly. If someone asks you to do something, tell them you have to check your schedule. This gets you off the immediate hook. Then go home and email them. This way you are not face to face and wont be pressured by all that silent but powerful body language. You won’t have to see the look on their face when they realize they must find another sucker. Email is non-confrontational and you can be as professional and kind as you like. Add a smiley face for emphasis. After you handle things this way for a while, either people will quit asking you or you will feel so good about your new found freedom you will say no to all those pain in the rump things you don’t want to do. Another strategy is to say yes, and do whatever it is so poorly that no one would dare ask you again. This one is less mature, but much more fun.

The importance of saying no is that truly how we spend our life should be a reflection of our inner person. The intuitive, emotional thoughts that we think and feel are there for a reason. If your first gut instinct is to say ‘no’ then say NO! There will be plenty of opportunities in life to say ‘yes’ and they should be chosen by you. Everyone has to stand up for themselves or risk being walked on. Saying no is just one of the simple yet meaningful ways we begin to take our own needs seriously. By taking care of our selves we are enabled to offer others around us even more.



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