Have you ever noticed how hard it is to say no? And I don’t mean the “Because I said NO!” kind of no. I mean the, “No, I’m not going to be able to X, Y, Z.” “No, I’m not going to take/bring/cook/fill in the blank.” We don’t want to disappoint the ones asking but we seem to think of nothing of disappointing the ones doing—ourselves! Whether it’s a parent thing, a friend thing, a spouse thing, a daughter thing, a work thing, or any other kind of thing, it really doesn’t matter what the situation is where we say yes instead of knowing that we really mean to say no.
No is a strong word and saying it can be empowering but also scary. It should never mean that we failed ourselves or another person when we say no, sometimes even after having said yes and changing our mind.
Agreeing to something we don’t want to do isn’t always intentional. There are circumstances when we say yes, and we mean it at the time, but sometimes things change and that’s when the conflict comes in of changing our answer. Occasionally we say yes because we don’t want to disappoint the other person or we feel strongly that it’s important to keep our word, but when whatever you agreed to do is more for the benefit of the other person than for you, it becomes a disservice.
I’ve been saying no to people and things more frequently recently as a matter of self-preservation from crazy schedules and admittedly, some self-induced commitments, but it hasn’t always been easy. I still find it difficult but what I recently became aware of was that no matter how uncomfortable it may be to say no, it is okay to do. That soul whisper in my ear of “it’s okay to say no” one morning not that long ago, when I was thinking of a decision I needed to make, caught me off-guard and stopped me short. I never thought I needed to give myself permission to say such a simple word, but really, it’s more than about the one word. It’s about granting myself permission to do be in true alignment of my beliefs and heart. I strongly believe in keeping one’s word, but I feel just as strongly in keeping true to myself.
The ego wants to be the king/queen of the prom and will agree to anything that will get them that crown for being the good girl, the savior, the reliable one so it will always say yes. Next time you say yes, ask yourself who is saying Yes– your heart or your ego? By saying no, we can take the lead in the dance.
Realizing this and recognizing the power of choice has shifted things enormously for me in my heart, my head, and of course, my schedule! I feel freer in saying yes, and by the same token, saying no. The next time you are asked to do something, I urge you to think for a moment of your answer. The choice is yours of course, but I hope that if “no” is really the answer you want to give, then allow yourself to do so and notice what happens within.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the lyrics to the song “Time to Change” that was sung by Peter Brady in the 1972 episode from the Brady Bunch show. Peter is approaching puberty and his voice begins to crack but with a smile on his face, he loudly sings:
“When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange
Move your heart to where you’re gonna be.
Sha na na na na na na na, she na na na na.”
So go ahead–Let your voice crack and let your soul sing:
“Sha na na na na na na na, she na na na na”—NO!