|Just smile and say "NO"|
Learning to say NO
A dear friend and sister called yesterday. She asked if I had written a post on how to say no. I said “No.” “Will you write one?” She asked. “No.” I told her.
It took her a moment and then she laughed her melodious laugh and said she got it. Saying no is difficult for those of us who have learned to care more for others than we do for ourselves.
If we have agreed to do something, no matter how difficult or painful or untimely, we will somehow find a way to make it happen. So it really does start with that first “No.” If we hadn’t agreed to do something in the first place, we would be able to avoid that horrible feeling of having to let someone down.
So why do we always say “Yes.”
This weekend, I watched the documentary I AM. In it director Tom Shadyac asks the questions “What is wrong with the world and what can be done to fix it?” He interviews scientists, theologians, historians and other thinkers and uncovers many wonderful truths. One of them really stood out; we are wired to be compassionate.I AM the doc
Consensus and compassion are much more in line with our nature than are conflict and indifference. We have learned to be the latter ignoring our more truthful selves.
So saying yes is what we should do, but when you are a giver, people will ask you for your assistance more than they ask for the assistance of others. The reason for this is simple; people know that you will say yes. If you want something done, there is no reason to ask someone who always says no. So they go to the person who says yes and unfortunately, we become overburdened, overtasked and stressed as a result.
We feel guilty if we say no and then we feel overburdened once we say yes.
So here’s the thing sister and everyone else, try to do what my mother did. It always drove me nuts. I hated when she did it, but I now understand the purpose.
If we asked my mother for something that she was not certain of at that time, she always said “We’ll see.” My mother believed that your yeah should be yeah and your nay was nay. Her word was her bond, she told us. She didn’t make promises or oaths but when she said yes, you could count on it as such.
My mother’s, “We’ll see, “was her way of saying, “I don’t know what tomorrow may bring. I can barely get through today, so we’ll see.”
When asked to do something, stop and take a moment to think it through. What will the request really require; how much time, effort and money? Does the request have an end? If you are not sure that you can do something by the time someone needs it done, or if you have taken on more than you can handle, be fair to the person and tell them “No.” Ask one of your “less likely to volunteer” friends. Give them the opportunity to live in accordance to their nature; as a giver.
For some people, giving is more natural than it is to others. But when you do more for everyone than you do for yourself, it’s time to learn to just say “NO.”
Be you, be well, be True
Bertice Berry, PhD.