How To Say No

Many of us have problems saying no, especially when it comes to interacting with our loved ones. This article is not just about saying no to other people, but saying no to ourselves as well. 

We've got more than we can use - all of us. We've got handbags for different occasions, shoes of varying shades. 'Good' plates and ones our family use. Our consumption is so great that manufacturers now make jeans with so much material, you're supposed to wear them to cover the 'exquisite' shoes you must have. When I was growing up I had one pair of shoes which I stuffed with newspaper because they were several sizes too big (they were my mother's old cast-offs). Nowadays I have more than I really need, even though I'm not a shoe collector or hoarder. Where does it all end? How much more can we say yes to? When is enough, enough?

How to say no


What we have now is adequate, both for us and others in our lives who believe more is better, tastier, richer... Here's how we say, 'No, that's enough now!'

Say no to clutter
Stop collecting stuff for your home. Think about the last time you moved house when you lived out of boxes. How much stuff did you survive on then? Do you see that you don't need that new set of cutlery? You'll only need another drawer to store them. Save your money for your retirement.

Say no to the Internet
Switch it off. Create a 'diet' for your Internet use. Are you getting hooked on Facebook and Twitter? Do you feel you have to check and reply to each of your friend's new updates? You're addicted. Give yourselves a few hours a day, free of Internet and emails. If it helps, you may have to turn your connection off from the source at first. Addicted people need drastic measures for the detoxing process to kick in.

Say no to the money race
Money really cannot buy happiness. The more you have, the more you will want. There will always be something else to covet, something bigger, something faster or smarter. Loved ones, peace of mind, good health and hope and faith in the beauty of life, all contribute greatly towards self-contentment and self-satisfaction. Of course, having what we need for life (which most of us already do) is vital for survival. But when you think you need more money, think of what you would do with it if you lost your mind, your health or your family/best friends.

Say no to your our kids
Denying your kids game boys and x-boxes does not add up to child-abuse. Many modern parents think that good parenting is giving their children everything they want. This of course, is bordering on neglect. It is irresponsible to teach your kids they can have the sum total of what they want. How will they cope when they leave home and realise the world is the opposite of what you've taught them? They will continue to believe that college, their employers, their spouses, the world, owe them a living. Teach your kids patience and strength by allowing them to wait - and save up - for some things. Be kind to them and say no sometimes. Even God does.

Say no to more work
We're responsible for the costume for the school's big performance. We've just taken up a new French class. Our friends have moved house and they've asked for our help with the painting. Work called and asked if we could do some overtime for the next two weeks. The parents have gone on holiday to Japan, so they need someone to take care of the two dogs, the cat and water the plant. Stop! Say no. You can offer to paint the masks - but not make the dresses (for the play). Help paint just one room - or just the first coat. Do one day of overtime. Keep just the cat, and let the folks take the dogs to kennels for the week. Remember that every little helps. You can make a difference in people's lives without having to completely take over their responsibilities.

There's a whole new world waiting for you to discover when you say no. Life is for living up, not living under a bundle of stress. Promise yourself to take time out to reflect on what you've done well - not how much you've done.

Can you share some more ways of saying no? Please also share this article on your favourite networking site. Thank you.


Judy SheldonWalker February 26, 2013 at 1:39 AM  

It is very difficult to say no at times and some of the places we really want to say no we cannot. Our job has mandatoried us open to close for the rest of the month and I was already scheduled for Saturdays just to avoid working to close during the week. I would really like to say no, but that is not an option, but of course, you are right. There are places within our control that we relinquish then we whine afterwards.

Anne Lyken-Garner February 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM  

I understand, Judy. There are some situations where saying no is not an option. Many times this can be work, but we can say no if we think we're being pressured and asked to do things outside our job description.

Of course, we should be flexible, but many people become depressed because they try to be everything and everyone to the people at work. There comes a time when no will just have to do - and we can still maintain our professionalism.

Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous February 26, 2013 at 4:59 PM  

just dropping by to say hello

Icy BC March 1, 2013 at 2:28 PM  

Hi Anne,
What a wonderful coincident! I've just post my article on "Just Say No" on another writing website.

When approach by other people, I can wiggle my way out of it, but when I was put in the situation with family, it's hard to say no, and sometimes, I don't even have a choice of saying no!

Anne Lyken-Garner March 1, 2013 at 2:56 PM  

I know what you're saying, Icy. When it comes to family, we somehow think we always have to say yes - or don't have the choice. I think it's harder to say no to family, but if we're nice to them and explain that we already have so much on our plates, the *reasonable* ones will understand.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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