THE SIMPLE LIFE: Saying No to Other People

Everyday we are faced with a barrage of propositions by organizations commercial and non-profit, by the people in our life in capacities ranging from professional to romantic. Everyone wants to hear that magic word: Yes. It certainly is easier to say yes; it requires no explanation, no hurt feelings, and it makes the person asking feel good. However, we can’t say yes to everything. This inherently creates two problems for us to solve: first, deciding whether to say yes or no, and secondly, actually saying no.

Saying no effectively is more than just saying the word. Before you can tell someone no you need to be able to tell yourself no, be able to make a decision from a position of knowledge rather than fear by letting go of your doomsday scenario. Once you are there you are able to tell someone no.

The second problem is usually the hardest for most people because it requires a pivot. When you say yes, things continue to flow down river; when you say no, it is like building a dam, diverging the water from its path and creating a new one.

Saying no to other people is difficult because we often choose not to be honest or to allow ourselves to show vulnerability. We often say yes to things that we actually do not want because saying no would require us to open up. When we choose to shelter ourselves rather than show what we are feeling, it creates ambiguity, which doesn’t move you closer towards a solution.

The next time you’re finding it difficult to say no to a friend, a partner or even your boss, allow yourself to be vulnerable and to have a conversation not just about the proposition but the proposition in relation to your values and the things that you want. By adding context and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, it will help you be more confident about your no answer, and it will help the other person understand where you are coming from.

When you are able to say no to other people it will help you focus on the things that really matter and will strengthen your relationships through honesty. There’s nothing wrong with a no answer, but saying no effectively will help you move towards your goals.

Author Chris Wyman is a modern day renaissance man, a philosopher and a reality sculptor. He believes in living a deliberate life of dreams actualized.
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