Day 6: Just say NO! (and not in the Nancy Reagan sense, although. . . )

Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying
to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much. Article
. ”

My first thought on Day Six was a horrific flashback to the pit band in high school when the actress playing Ado Annie couldn’t remember “I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No” and we had to keep playing it over and over.  I think that cemented my disdain for all things Roger and Hammerstein.  One of the best lessons I picked up somewhere along the line was the lack of justification needed in saying “No.”  For years I struggled with “I’d really like to (probably a lie) but . . . ” instead of “No.”

No isn’t one of those words most of us like to hear (there are cases it is the most beautiful word in the world, however, most times, it’s not. . . ).  While I’m ok-ish with the boundary of saying no in doing things (hey, at heart I’m a slug), I do struggle with saying no when it comes to standing up for myself.  Case and point, last weekend, I spent some time with old friends.  One of them said something about doing a joint birthday party again.  I said no.  Against conventional wisdom, against “proper protocol”.  I wasn’t interested.  The last birthday party I had, my mom had just started chemo again for the second time, was wearing her wig for the first time and I was miserable.  My friend said I was fine and wasn’t stressed.  At this point, I realized I could ‘shrug it off’ or simply stand my ground.  I corrected her: No, I was miserable.  I didn’t have a good time and I wasn’t going to re-create it.  Yes, I probably did hide it well, I’m good at that.  For me, the struggle of saying no isn’t around a task but in the letting others express their perceptions of my feelings, not accepting that for me, no means no and letting myself be ok with not being involved.

While my friend didn’t take it well (presence of a 3rd party ended the discussion . . . ).  It really didn’t bother me: it actually felt kind of liberating.  For me, anyway, part of saying no will be letting go of people in my life who while they are there, I’ve lost that point of connection, the sense of conversation/community.  Yes, I’ll still be polite and be at social gatherings but sometimes saying no is simply a way to take stock of who respects another individual’s decisions/reflections.

Now, if I can get myself to say no to some of my mother’s great ideas . . . well, I’d be the first in the family.  Some times a smile and nod is much simpler, healthier than “no”.  That is why God invented freecycle.



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One Response to “Day 6: Just say NO! (and not in the Nancy Reagan sense, although. . . )”

  1. eliza keating Says:

    What a great post..I think we all hate saying no…but you are so right..there are times we just have to..The problem I face in saying no is there is always a why not after it….and i dislike explaining myself more than actually saying no…if that makes sense…Eliza Keating

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