“No” is such a simple word…. only two letters. Yet saying “No” out loud is harder for most people than saying, “I’ll be glad to…” (eleven letters) or “When do you need me to…” (seventeen letters)

Most of us said, “No!” quite well when we were young children. After all, it’s a young child’s job to say “No.” The authority figures in our lives at the time, our parents, expect us to say “No.” But the case takes a gradual turn around as we grow older. Why? “No” becomes the word we seldom use except, well, when talking to children.

Many of us grow up to be people pleasers. Sad but true. The word “No” drops out of our vocabulary, and we substitute lots of ways to be agreeable and keep the other person happy. Saying “No” to the authority figures is not expected. And underneath it all we believe that saying “No” can cost us a lot in our adult life.

On the other hand, there are also lots of reasons why someone says “No”. No to drugs; No to negativity; No to oppression; etc. Here, I’m talking about the “No” that we should say out loud in order to protect our being or preserve our self-respect and confidence. It’s a completely different story from the other.

Being unable to say “No” given the general circumstance can make you exhausted, stressed and irritable. It could be undermining any efforts you make to improve your quality of life if you spend hours worrying over how to get out of an already-promised commitment; if your spare time is taken up with committee meetings and myriad other engagements, your family may be suffering; so on and so forth.

Don’t wait until your energy runs out before you take a much needed step back to assess the situation. Sometimes just the two letters are needed to save you the trouble.

Having said that, I believe that I don’t need to specify any practical on how to say “No’ properly (so as not to burn bridges) anymore. A lot has been provided and talked about in the internet on the matter – from popular down to unusual ways. Trying to provide another list of practicals might be overkill already.

Nonetheless, I shall leave you instead with this simple yet powerfully true statement to ponder upon: When you say YES to others make sure that you are not saying NO to yourself.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein were  of the author’s. There is no intent, whatsoever, to assert such views and opinions as other people might have varied opinions on the matter at hand.

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