This note may not be of interest to those who have no trouble saying “No’, but in my travels I come across many. many people who really struggle with saying no. This is for you.
Picture this scenario;
It’s Friday evening and you are settling for a quiet evening and looking forward to a really relaxing Saturday.
Then the phone rings. (There is a two-day workshop can be run on what goes though our minds right then. But that is for another time.) You answer the call and it’s your friend Bob, or Roberta – (well sort-of friend, really just someone you know from church but a good person). They go on to ask if you could help him next day as they have just lost their job and they know you have some expertise in this area.
Your mind takes off. (And there’s another two-day workshop). You are stuck – They need help, you can help, and you know you are not committed to anything next day. But you agonise. You do not want to give away your time, but you don’t want to be selfish; you promised yourself a day off, but how can you say no. Its the last thing you really want to do, but you don’t want to appear uncaring.
We usually trip over our words at these times because the words we are speaking are not the words we are thinking and not the words we want to say, but before we know it, we have said “OK, I’ll help you”.
And that’s great if that is what we want to do. But how often do we say ‘yes’ because we don’t know how to say ‘no’.
The truth is we do know how to say no, but we get bombarded with our thoughts and our concerns of what it might look like and what others may say and so on and on. So we give our power away to “what it might look like… ” and say yes when we really want to say no.
Back to the Friday evening scenario. do you think your Friday evening would end up as peaceful as you planned.
Why don’t we ‘just say no’ ? i can hear you say to yourself. I welcome your comments on this dillemna.
One of the great insights and breakthroughs in my life was when I discovered it was OK to say ‘NO’.
Not saying no when we mean no just causes a loss of peace, frustration and even anger. We can feel used or manipulated or backed into a corner.
But note that is just a feeling. Someone asking us to do something is just that – a request. We are actually free to say yes or no, but why is it we often feel like we can’t say no, or we shouldn’t say no.
I believe we give our power away to the asker or to the situation, when we feel coerced because of a feeling, or a sense of obligation or a concern of what people may think or say.
I believe there is a more powerful and empowering way to operate. The ancient proverb says “Let your yes be yes and your no be no”.
How much better would it be if we said yes when we meant yes and no when we meant no? It will take practice and you will need to deal with the feelings and emotions it brings up, but you will feel a million dollars when you say yes because you want to and no when you don’t.
It won’t always go down well in the beginning, because some people don’t like to get a no, but they will get used to it. The reality is that we will actually say yes more often because we are now free to decide.
When ever I want to ask someone for help I start with “You need to know that “No” is a really good answer to any question I ask”.
My Moment of Clarity today is To ask yourself ” Am I able to say no when I want to?” and if you wrestle with that my encouragement to you is to start exercising that muscle. The fruit will be peace and freedom. And rather than say a bald no you can say: “Is it OK with you if I say no to that ?” It works.
Honest and open communication is a passion of mine and makes for a much more peaceful and productive life. Asking great questions is one of the keys to that. What do you think? Love to hear your comments below.
Take Care, Brian.