There is a really good article in the May 08 issue of Esquire about saying no. How liberating and empowering it is to just say no. Saying no, for most people, does not come naturally. Some people hate to disappoint or want to be liked, so they say yes often and to their detriment.
I have never had a problem saying no, but when I was younger, I had a hard time deciding when to say no. I was imperfect in my pursuit of the perfect no. I also tended to say no and explain why.
The article explains that saying no shouldn’t require an explanation. That you should be free to say no with no explanation as to your motivations and I totally agree. Most people when they hear no suddenly begin bargaining or looking for ways to convince you to say yes. When you won’t change your mind or when you say no without an explanation, people get downright pissed and it is actually quite funny.
Now that I am older I am much better equipped to simply say no when I don’t feel like doing something. I still on occasion offer an explanation, but I believe I am getting better at just saying no and leaving it at that. Like the article says though, it is very empowering.
I have often wondered why exactly people say yes, when they really mean no… or at least want to say no, but say yes instead. I know that some people just don’t want to disappoint others and do things they would normally not do if they could avoid the blow back from saying no. When I finally stopped giving a rat’s ass about other people and started to simply function on a plane of existence that put my needs/wants/feelings/happiness first, I began by saying no when I meant no. That was the first step to true happiness for me. I would imagine that if more people got into the habit of living their lives without doing things they don’t want to do, there would be a lot more happy people out there.
Now, I am not advocating being selfish or self involved… thats a whole different idea than the one I am expressing. I believe in being true to yourself and understanding that no matter what you do, both good and bad, people will form an opinion of you that you cannot control. As such, it is better to be yourself, take care of yourself, and do only those things that bring you happiness than to live for other people and ignore your own needs. Afterall, if you are not happy, how can you possibly bring happiness into another person’s life?
Get into the habit of saying no and see if your world view doesn’t improve.