Ok… so I am having fun… with these tongue in cheek ways to say no…
I did enjoy thinking about the ways we duck and weave around that dynamic, emotionally laden little word…
Euphemisms I dreamed up for my children when I needed to say no… the, “we’ll see” being my favourite… followed by the, ” let me think about it”. My three knew early on that that those statements equalled a no… and that there was little hope to change my mind. Even though I said no in my way… I could rarely bring myself to flat out deny them.
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This year I promised myself that I would learn to say no without guilt… that I would say no confidently and quietly… that I would stop trying to achieve the impossible and that when a resounding no was needed I would deliver it with aplomb and go with the consequences.
Easier said than done.
Especially if you are a perfectionist and people pleaser. I don’t like saying no… I would rather push myself to the limit than disappoint or not deliver.
I am always squeezing that little bit extra into an overly packed day… sometimes it works but at other times it means that everything else gets watered down and nothing is done as well or as successfully as I had hoped.
Saying no so often makes me feel bad… and that’s where it gets all wrong. Intellectually I know there is nothing misplaced with a refusal when it’s for the right reasons… and a no is just as valid as a yes.
When you think about it sensibly everyone must say no from time to time… it’s not personal, it’s practical. There are only so many hours in the day, lives are extremely busy and obligations forever magnifying… it’s not possible to do it all… it’s only natural to cull… and that means no.
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Why does it worry us so? How can two letters create so much angst?
I believe women struggle harder with this than men… it’s in our DNA to please… as daughters, as mothers, as partners, as friends… we unwittingly seek approval from our loved ones… And why not? It feels good… actually it feels great. Approval is a mighty drug.
Women don’t like to disappoint… we are carers and nurturers… we make things right in the world… we are givers, not takers… and saying no equates with displeasing.
My husband says no so beautifully, so effortlessly and with such grace… Business practice perhaps? “Leave it with me, I’ll give it a bit more thought…” generally ends up in a no… and without offending… He is a master, I still fall for it.
As women, learning to say no is one of the greatest challenges we face.
Without the ability to say no occasionally… and I’m not suggesting we become grumpy and mean spirited by any means… we run the risk of depleting our energy, our creativity and losing the very instincts and drive that make us who we are… that make us such a special breed.
We have to shake that feeling of I’ve-done-something-wrong when we refuse and be clear and concise with our reasons. It’s not selfish to think of ourselves sometimes, it’s essential.
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We should not be intimidated when saying no. We should embrace the opportunity to choose, to use both our emotional and physical reserves gainfully in a way that is not only beneficial to others but also to ourselves. This is not self-centred, this is survival.
I admire those who so eloquently use the negative. I don’t consider them mean or selfish… I respect their decisions and the reasons for making them and most importantly, I trust their judgement.
For now… I’m still working on it… And you? xv
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