The Elusive No

Small word, difficult for some of us to say. I want help, yes we’ll say, I have a problem will you solve, yes we say.

“Yes” rolls off the tongue, “no” is never born except in our thoughts.

During my therapy sessions I spent quite a bit of time talking about the challenging “no” All our circumstances are different but some of us have been programmed by life events to be pleasers and therefore the pesky “yes” is our default answer.

It seems obvious but it was quite a revelation to me that we can say “no”. I’m still pretty rubbish at it but I’m trying to get as much practise as possible.

My Thoughts

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18 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I learned I’m not horrible at it. Used to be. Now, I just think “is this thing worth my time, my energy, part of my sanity, and does it give me ANYTHING positive to look forward to?” You’d be surprised how often things you used to say “yes to” is really just a glaring “no”.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I just went through and thought about the times I wanted to say no and didn’t. Then I thought about why I said yes to those things. I found it was always some kind of internal pressure I put on myself believing that others would be happier because if it and I would be pleasing them. I realized a migraine is not the best way to go to a wedding – and honestly, the bride and groom are too busy. And they are truthfully just as thankful for the gift if you were there or not. So I created a list of questions for me to answer. If I hit no…. then why am I forcing myself to do this? Honestly, no one cares whether you go to the office Christmas Party (unless it’s mandatory, in which case they’re evil). I work in a tiny little firm – two of them actually. The small one has me as it’s only employee. The other employs me and 3 other people other than the bosses, with one intern. About once a month they order lunch for everyone and we eat in the conference room together. There are times where I’m bogged down with work and I’d actually rather work than listen to painful conversation about whatever. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for these conversations, sometimes….I’m just not. I thank them for the food and return to my desk and eat while I’m working. You know what? Everyone else in the office is eating together and at first, I was doing it too. Finally, I just had enough. I didn’t want to listen to the too-loud laughter, and the silly/corny jokes (everyone really does get along and none of it is fake. A bad joke does fall flat in the room and no one pretends it doesn’t, even if it is the boss). It’s a good environment. But sometimes, I just don’t WANT to deal with it. That’s enough to graciously say “thank you for the _______. I appreciate you treating me to lunch” and go back to my desk. I thought I would get yelled at for doing that, or at least get dirty glances and they would try to make me feel bad. Instead, the bosses of both companies made it to my work-dungeon and said they appreciated my dedication to my job. Sometimes “no” is the most powerful word in your vocabulary.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I completely understand all of this and it is amazing how often when you say “no” you don’t actually get the negative reaction you are fearful for. A lot as you say is purely internal pressure we put in ourselves.


      • Precisely.

        Find the questions that will help you decide. Then saying no doesn’t feel arbitrary and fill you with guilt. It’s no for the reasons you’ve predetermined in your head and that you will stick to. No isn’t a bad word – Yes is. No means you take care of yourself. Yes means you’re worrying about the PERCEPTIONS of others, not even worrying about their needs or caring for them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! You hit a good one with that! If I could just go back in time and redo some of the yes’ to a no, I’m sure the past might be a bit different. Of course that would also alter my present so in hindsight, I’m glad the Lord made ALL things work together! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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