The art of saying NO

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What if you said NO instead of YES?

We all have found ourselves there. Those countless times, saying YES, agreeing, going along with, and acquiescing to something we ultimately wanted no part in. I often wonder if I said NO to someone or something that ultimately was not good for me, what lesson would I have learned. And how much time I would have saved. I have often agreed to go along with situations, relationships, jobs, projects or ideas when ultimately I realized they were not a good fit. That realization sometimes comes at a great cost, after a lot of lost time, and energy, emotional and physical.

Saying NO is hard, very hard.  We want to agree and be agreeable, we want to make everyone happy by saying yes to any number of things that ultimately we regret partaking in. We want to be open to possibilities; Carpe Diem and all the philosophical positivity of it, but let’s be honest… Half the YES’s are most likely not worth any seizing of any day. Oh I have regrets… plenty of them. And anyone who says they don’t are not being fully honest with themselves, because let’s face it hindsight is 20/20.

Saying NO is like removing another roadblock to your path of doing exactly and whatever is best for you. 

I regret many of my YES’s of the past but hardly any of the NO’s. I realize now, quite late in life that saying NO, is incredibly freeing. You release all expectations, you gently and without remorse refuse to partake in anything that doesn’t work for you, and ultimately you save much wasted time. There is no unpleasant back and forth, no unfulfilled expectations, and in the end you save your YES for something, someone, and somewhere that truly matters.

I’ve begun this experiment of saying no thank you, not for me, not right now, not at this time and at times when necessary a hard NO. That last one is the most challenging because it usually comes after much effort and coercion on the part of the recipient to hear something different. Those have become the most satisfying, like removing another roadblock to your path of doing exactly and whatever is best for you.  Recently I’ve discovered that by saying NO more often, I’m getting much better at it and more decisive about how to use it.

The next time you feel you have to say YES, don’t and see where it takes you.