How to say “NO”

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

I heard a story the other day about a father, who instead of saying “No” to their small child about turning on the television,  he told her that the television didn’t work during those times of the day.  A funny story yes, but why is it, that we teach our children from a very young age that it is easier to lie than to say “No”, or tell the truth?

I remember always finding it hard to say “No” to anyone but it was always based on my fear of being rejected by others.  When I faced the fear that stopped me from being true to myself, I allowed my confidence to grow and my life became my own and not a prison to what others thought of me.

“Courage: the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” – Maya Angelou

Everyone at some point has lied to their friends or family because it seemed easier than to say “No” but what you may find is that the reaction you get from others when they find out you have lied, is often worse.

When we say yes to one thing, we are simultaneously saying no to something else and if you find it hard to say “No” to complete strangers, then often we end up not having enough time to say “yes” to our family or ourselves.

When we continually say “yes” when in fact we want to say “no”, we teach ourselves to value the relationship of the person making the request above the importance of our own interests.

We convince ourselves that we have time to say yes to all these requests but this overloading of commitments will eventually catch up with you.  No matter how many people you try to please, someone ends up getting hurt and that person is usually you!

I’ve never met a “yes” person that wasn’t angry or resentful.  This is simply because they make no time for themselves to rest or be still.  Often they project their anger at those they love and not to those they continually say yes to.  Deep down, the only person we are angry at is ourselves for not having the courage to say “no”.

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Start small in your quest to say “no”.   It’s a hard habit to break, so below are a few ideas:

When someone requests something of you, allow yourself time to think.  Instead of saying “yes” straight away, say “Let me check that date” or “I’m not sure”.  This way, you give yourself time to consider yourself and your family first.  If it feels right and fits into your schedule then say “yes”, if it doesn’t, say “No” without guilt.

Face the fear within yourself and understand why you find it hard to say “no”.  This can only happen when you slow down and stop.  Allow yourself to be nurtured and to rest, for when you feel given to, you can then give freely and generously to everyone.

Trust your intuition and always speak the truth.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

One thought on “How to say “NO”

  1. Karen,
    A beautiful post again. I wholeheartedly agree with telling the truth. I have learnt that the truth is always accepted if it is given in love and honesty. My amazing husband was brave enough to tell our children that he was going to die two weeks before he passed away. This allowed the children to ask some of the questions that were important to them. I am positive it would have been easier not to say the truth but he ultimately gave them the greatest gift – he began to grieve with them.

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