Saying ‘no’.. or being able to say ‘no’.
An interesting question don’t you think?
Saying ‘no is one of the hardest deals of all. I am not specifically targeting the bad ‘no’ in this conversation because it is hard to say ‘no’ to the more exciting but dangerous facets of life. That is more a question of self-control and knowing what is good and what is bad for us. I am thinking about the beneficial ‘no’, in some cases even life-saving, I am focusing on that part of our personalities that finds it impossible to turn down requests, to refuse favours and to simply say ‘no’ when everything becomes too much.
I am not a good example. I find it very difficult to say, ‘no’.
I always take on too much, agree to everything and then find myself laden with obligations and panic-stricken that I will let someone down. Do you know that feeling? We want to do it all, to be involved at every level, to make a difference and to share ideas; we stretch ourselves, commit our time and our energy and very often, without thinking it through. I am foolhardy and believe that 24 hours is a bottomless pit and that everything is possible.
I suspect I am not alone here. I don’t mean disorganised because if there is one thing I am, it is organised. I mean that I don’t say ‘no’ when I should. What happens? An already well-arranged life becomes too hectic and frenetic because a simple ‘no could not be delivered. I find it interesting that we can’t say ‘no’. I believe it is because most of us are generous, kind souls and that we would rather give of ourselves than not. Simplistic, but on the whole truth. We want to be positive and who wants to be the one to say, ‘no’ – we all live for the feel-good factor.
The more important questions are, when should we say, ‘no’ and how can we teach ourselves to say, ‘no’?
Yes, we need to accept that saying ‘no’ is ok and that ‘no’ does not equate with being a bad person. This is a really hard place to find and an even harder place to remain. Especially for women who are expected to be perfectionists at work, at home and at play. We, women, presume we can do it all… that is who we are… so saying, ‘no’ is generally not an option… We need to accept that all is not possible… that to do a great job we need to prioritise and that pleasing all others above ourselves can result in a poor result all around. How often do your great ideas… your fabulous plans… become mediocre because there is not enough time to concentrate on them all? We compromise… we say, ‘yes’… we make it all happen, but not in the way we really want to… because we take on too much… The pie is only so large and the slices only become smaller.
We should say, ‘no’ when and if we want, without guilt and repercussion.
I know, easier said than done and I am the biggest offender of all as already stated. I am working on this. I think the way forward is to know our prime concerns, to understand the most important issues in our lives and to focus on the people that are the most present. I hope that if we do this we can say, no’ to what is on the periphery… and it is this periphery that creates all the confusion and noise in our lives. We need to live by our timetable, not that of others. Our schedules are just that, ours and how often we push ourselves to fit into the commitments of others. It seems so obvious that we should run to our own time frame, but think on it. How often are you trying to work around another person’s schedule even when it is incompatible with your own? We do this because we don’t wish to disappoint and say, ‘no’. Simply we should say, ‘no’ when it removes us from our prime concerns, our objectives and when the timing will negatively impact on all that we have on our plates.
Teaching ourselves to say ‘no’ is a practical game and all games require practice.
Saying, ‘no’ requires confidence. Saying, ‘no’ requires a firm resolve but a gentle delivery. We need to know that we won’t be thought of badly for saying, ‘no. Our friends, our families our co-workers are understanding, we need to give them credit.
It is for us to learn that ‘no’ is a positive not a negative. xv