For many of us, the most difficult word to say is one of the shortest and easiest in the vocabulary: No. Go ahead, say it aloud: No.
No – simple to pronounce, hard to say. We’re afraid people won’t like us, or we feel guilty. We may believe that a “good” employee, child, parent, spouse, or Christian never says no.
The problem is, if we don’t learn to say no, we stop liking ourselves and the people we always try to please. We may even punish others out of resentment.
When do we say no? When no is what we really mean.
When we learn to say no, we stop lying. People can trust us, and we can trust ourselves. All sorts of good things happen when we start saying what we mean.
If we’re scared to say no, we can buy some time. We can take a break, rehearse the word, and go back and say no. We don’t have to offer long explanations for our decisions.
When we can say no, we can say yes to the good. Our no’s and our yes’s begin to be taken seriously. We gain control of ourselves. And we learn a secret: “No” isn’t really that hard to say.
Today, I will say no if that is what I mean.
From: The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beatty