This series is an alphabetical exploration of 26 options for living well, despite everything. It answers the question–How can a we live well, despite problems?
By Saying No!
I was taught to be nice, to say okay, fine, yes — while smiling politely. Yet, while saying “NO!” may strike us as not nice, saying yes too often leads to overcommitment, which leads to stress. And stress, according to health professionals at the Mayo Clinic, is unhealthy.
So I’ve been thinking…There are 10 commandments, which for thousands of years, have served to define what is moral and decent in human conduct.
- Thou shalt say yes, is not one of them.
- And 8 of the 10 commandments are stated in the negative. “Thou shalt not…”
Because NO! is powerful.
By learning to say no, to overcommitment, overindulgence, and other people’s requests for my time (which if given, may further their agenda while derailing my life), I’ve learned two paradoxes.
- Real freedom exists only within boundaries, and
- Stating the negative is often positive.
- Saying no is healthy. It’s the pathway to stress relief.
- Saying no is respectful. By turning down new commitments, I honor those I’ve already made.
- Saying no is adventurous. By saying no to something I’ve always done, I free up time to get to know new people, new places, and new activities.
- Saying no can be generous. By refusing to participate, I leave a place for someone else to come to the table, to do the work or join the party.