Sounds simple enough eh? And no, I’m not referring to the ‘just say no’ to drugs campaign of the 1980’s (showing my age here).
I’m talking about being able to say “no” to your friends, family, siblings, workmates, strangers etc.
“No” – I don’t want to go for a drink tonight.
“No” – I don’t feel like going to your house for dinner next Saturday.
“No” – I don’t want to hang out tomorrow
“No” – I just don’t feel like it
You catch my drift.
For such a tiny word, it sure does cause me a great deal of stress. Why is it that whenever I say “no”, I feel that this teeny word is not enough? Why do I feel the need to add a few dozen sentences (usually embellished) to the back of it? “No, sorry I can’t make it on Friday night. I’m going to this imaginary other place. I have to be there straight after work so I can meet my imaginary friend. We’re going to be all the way at the other end of town so we won’t be able to pop in, not even just for a bit. Really sorry”. I go through these unnecessary motions when I all I want to do is say “no” or at the most “no, I can’t be bothered”.
Whilst I appreciate that overuse of the word “no” is pretty limiting. I mean, if all I’m doing is saying “no” all the time, am I ever reaching out of my comfort zone? If I’m honest, the answer is probably “no” – but that’s a whole other story!
The point is, I’d like to be able to say “no” without having to explain myself. I’d like to sometimes answer a question with “no” and have the only thing following it be, a full stop. The older I get, the more I’m realising that I don’t have to explain myself to everyone. Just because I don’t want to do something doesn’t mean I don’t like you or I don’t appreciate you. It just means I’m putting myself first. And it’s ok for me to do that.
So, as I start the journey of self-discovery and in the words of Louise Hay, “I say yes to life”. I also “no” to all the things I feel obliged or guilted into doing. My aim is to be able to say “no” without feeling any pressure or need to explain myself futher. I’ll be back to post updates of situations where I’ve practiced this brave new way of life, that is of course if I live to tell the tale! If you’ve mastered the art of saying “no”, teach me the way… drop me a line or comment below. I’m open to all suggestions!
On a final note, they say you can learn a lot from children. Perhaps I need to follow the example of my two year old niece, who politely says “no thanks” whenever she is so inclined.
Me: “Hey kid, can you pass me the remote control please?”
Kid: “No thanks”
Kinda has a ring to it. The kid may be on to something here…