Why Bother to Say, “No.”

Why Bother To Say “No”?

No, is a very powerful two letter word. It is easy to form the single syllable word on our tongues, but it is not always easy to say.  And though most everyone understands the meaning of this word, not everyone likes to hear it. 

This one little word differentiates ourselves from others, establishes personal boundaries, and sets individualized limits. Whether we say it with kindness, or firmness, this word alters lives.

Dare I Tell You No?

Even though not everyone likes to hear this word or saying it may be difficult for some, eliminating no from our vocabulary would lead to physical and mental burn out, a build up of resentments and living contrary to our values. Saying no when we cannot do something, or do not want to do something is paramount to living well. 

Like a good massage, telling someone no is one way of taking care of ourselves. And contrary to what some may think, taking care of ourselves is not a selfish act. It is a necessity. If we cannot tell someone no when we need to, then how genuine is our yes? 

Consider this scenario the next time you know you should say no, but you guilt yourself into saying yes. If you were on an airplane and the oxygen masks dropped out of their compartments because of an emergency, would you put your mask on first or help your seatmate put theirs on? If you think it would be the right, kind and compassionate way to help your seatmate first, think again. How can you help someone else breathe when you are unable to? 

We do not have to complicate or elaborate on our no. We do not have to apologize for it either. We can refuse a request, an invitation or someone else’s opinion in kindness while staying truthful with them. We don’t owe an explanation and we don’t need to say we are sorry. 

I don’t have a hard time saying no, but sometimes I am too quick with it. Understanding why we don’t want to do something is important. Am I setting a healthy boundary for myself, or am I just afraid of saying yes?

Not too long ago, we had a landline for a telephone. Then my husband suggested we purchase flip phones and eliminate the land line. I went along and agreed with him on purchasing flip phones and eliminating our land line. But, when he mentioned buying IPhones, I immediately said, “No way!” 

But my husband, who knows me well, was not deterred by my reaction. Instead, invited me to go out to my preferred restaurant for breakfast, my favorite meal. Over omelets and coffee he systematically laid out the reasons we should switch from flip phones to IPhones. I listened and his reasoning softened my, “no way!” He understood my fear of change and convinced me that together, we could learn how to use them. 

Why bother to say “no”? When we find our true no, we will also find our true yes.