Learn to Say “No”
Laiba Muhammad Aamir
Humans are social animals and they cannot help themselves without interaction with one another. In their communications, an easy ‘yes’ always wins over the difficult ‘no’ creating a lot of problems. Living in a ‘yes’ culture, we think more about the comfort of the other person, even though we may have to face a great mental disruption. It is in our nature. However, this ‘yes-no’ game always defines the potential of our relations. Vanessa M. Patrick, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Houston says, “The ability to communicate ‘no’ reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your life.” But, it needs a lot of strength to believe in, and practice, this lesson. Unfortunately, we feel ourselves compelled to accept every request made by our friends, family and colleagues. We agree to do favours to others but, at the end of the day, we either overload ourselves and sacrifice our time or fail to meet the already made commitment. Hence, it is necessary to learn how to say ‘no’ when someone asks you to step outside your true responsibilities and comfort zone which is either dangerous or adversely effects your inner and outer personality.
We often forget the fact that we should place ourselves at the top of our priority list. We sacrifice our mental peace for others because it is a general notion that the more one makes compromises, the more it will be easier to live one’s life. If we think more openly, we find that it gets harder and harder to the point when life gets meaningless. There is no ease in making others happy, but living with inner turmoil. If one wants to achieve some real goals in life, the art of saying no is a must-learn lesson to realize one’s worth. It does not only give mental peace but also the sense of self-care, freedom and independence.
We develop the unnecessary need of saying ‘yes’ and guilt of saying ‘no’ since our childhood. Childhood experiences and influences are key to formulate our behaviours such as “I am lovable only if I say ‘yes’ to everything.” Children are taught to always say ‘yes’ even to what they want to say ‘no.’ Their self esteem is badly crushed because saying ‘no’ is considered as rude and disrespectful towards others. During this whole saying ‘yes’ culture, the self respect of the person is gone for sure.
Normally, the most common reason of always a yes-sir kind of person is because of the fear of being disliked and criticized. It is the fear of being called rude and arrogant that we say the opposite of what we want to actually say. In such cases, the idea of hurting or rejecting someone’s opinion engulfs us so much that we forget that we, too, have our own opinions. Such always-pleasing-others kind of behaviour will no doubt earn you a good name but it wouldn’t stay long.
Our opinions matter for those who understand us. Our yes or no will not take them away from us. In fact, such a straightforward behaviour will help make our relations more clear and firm. Those people who are direct in their answers are more trustworthy and dependable.
Also, we don’t need to be overly apologetic about our saying ‘no’. Everyone has a right to be direct about his answers and opinions. Equally, most of the times, when we reject someone, they always think that we owe them an explanation. Not at all. Instead of lying, making lame excuses, justifying ourselves with unnecessary explanations, and twisting and twirling our statement, just say “I don’t,” instead of “I can’t.”
This ability to say ‘no’ is linked with self-confidence and self-esteem. People with low confidence keep others’ needs higher than their own. The lesson of saying ‘no’ when it is appropriate is the best ever gift one can gift to one’s self. The ironic fact is, you will earn respect from people around you and your self too because you are damn clear in the boundaries of your values. Plus, don’t be afraid of losing someone because of your opinions. Be afraid of losing yourself by always trying to please others and being a ‘pushover.’