But how does one say No without being offensive?
So, recently it dawned on me that I was never taught to say No. This comes after several attempts to understand the guilt I feel after I have successfully crossed the No zone. Indeed, I see your sad face too trying to explain why you just said no to someone, so I know, I’m not alone in this. How could it be that, of the plethora of things I was taught, saying No wasn’t one of them? Could I have been absent-minded when this was being taught? Was it at home or at school? If it was school, do I not deserve some sort of compensation for my wasted fees? But then again, how much did I learn from school that I still put in practice? If it’s a refund for my fees, like a social security fund, then I guess I can claim my entire tuition. Whose fault is it? I, my parents, or school? (By the way, it is very tempting to always find someone to blame for our misfortunes but, remember, our growth as humans principally depends on our ability to stand and face our demons).
….it is very tempting to always find someone to blame for our misfortunes but, remember, our growth as humans principally depends on our ability to stand and face our demons.
These reflections set my brain on a roller coaster which led me to question my character. This individual who feels like they owe an explanation for every successful “No” they utter to someone; is it a weakness, strength or kindness? I mean, life is already hard, if one has to worry about the “Nos” they give, it’s probably right to say it’s a weakness. If you have failed many times like me, perhaps you will agree on this, weaknesses are in most cases representative of the level of know-how and timing. Like ‘counting knowledge’, psst!!! Who does that? It is incredibly difficult to quantify the intangibles. We make it easier by breaking it down into measurables, e.g. for knowledge we have skills – skilled, unskilled and semi-skilled. This way, one can critically identify that which they need to develop.
If you have failed many times like me, perhaps you will agree on this, weaknesses are in most cases representative of the level of know-how and timing.
I can now rephrase my opening statement to read; “The No skill does not currently exist in my skillset ”. I am definitely unskilled in the art of saying No. It’s one of the skills I am learning now. I can share some of the classes I take to practice. I walk to the mirror and tell myself “No Tonie, No man, No please” – I say this with a straight face. This is probably crazy but trust me, I have started seeing some results already. No kidding, I have. The other lesson is saying No to myself by delaying gratification. Trust me, if one can thoughtfully say no to themselves, telling it to others should be an issue of yesterday.
The other lesson is saying No to myself by delaying gratification.
The point is, we shouldn’t be compelled to say Yes out of fear of not having a reason to explain our decisions. Why? Because it is a No, it is short and precise, plus you don’t need an explanation. Why must one be put on the altar of sharing gory details of their personal and private life just to make another person feel satisfied with their No? It’s really mind boggling when you think about it. I picture how we got here, most of us were undoubtedly raised in homes and communities where lack was a common phenomenon. This experience taught us to have a neighbour-reliant syndrome – which is not a bad thing en passant. The only problem with this kind of mentality is, we always help our neighbours/friends low-key thinking that one day they’ll return the favour which is not necessarily the case, and it shouldn’t.
…most of us were undoubtedly raised in homes and communities where lack was a common phenomenon.
We should help out of love and not in anticipation of returns; otherwise, it becomes a business. Having an attachment to this idea, makes us feel like every No should be substantiated so that just in case tables turn, we have a safe and fallback position. Quite honestly, this is a good way of looking at things because everyone wants to have a safe fallback position. The challenge is, it sets you up for a play-safe kind of personality, one that is predisposed to fearing risks. Guess what fear for risk does, no development. You see what not saying No does! You, my friend, learn to say No without an explanation and with a smile. You can do this. Every News is not good, but we never see anchors smiling! Maybe not.