We are not taught to say “no.” We are taught not to say “no.” “No” is rude. “No” is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. “No” is for drugs and strangers with candy. – Kevin Ashton
I’m learning to say, “No.” Even though the people pleaser in me always wants to say “yes.” Even though saying “yes” makes me feel more important and needed. Even though saying “yes” makes me feel more productive than my writing does some days. Even though I hate seeing the disappointment on someone’s face when I say “no.”
I’m learning to say “No” because I need more time to do my work. Or more specifically, I need more time to just be. More time to let my mind run idle while I cut the grass, more time NOT making lists and recording voice memos to myself in the car because that’s the only time I have to swim through the mess of doing.
I’m learning to say “No” because I know how it feels to be the person someone says “yes” to and then to be the person left holding the workload and responsibility when that “yes” falls through or when the “yes” wasn’t really a “yes,” but more of a “I can’t say ‘no'”.
I’m learning to say “No” because I need space to respond when things go wrong and space to celebrate when things go well. I need space.
I’m learning to say “No” because I want to be a person whose word is trusted and who commits and follows-through in a culture where these things are undervalued and slipping away like so much water through our thirsty fingers.
“No” is not mean or lazy. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have passion or that I’m “not taking advantage of every opportunity.” It doesn’t mean I don’t care, and it doesn’t mean that I dislike the cause or the person doing the asking. “No” simply means I’m a grown adult who knows my limitations and my needs and who honors them. “No” just means I’m giving my best to things I most care about.
I’m learning to say “No” because I want my “yes” to mean something.
I’m learning to say “No” because it is, often and maybe usually, the more loving thing to say.
What might you say “No” to today?