On The Power of No
Why are we so uncomfortable with no?
Saying no, is so uncommonly used that it has become such a powerful statement. Yet it is always a necessity. If we said yes to everything, we would be drained of energy, resources and time; we are not super-human, or Superman.
When you sit and observe a conversation, you really see the innate fear people seem to have over saying no. But, I have noticed a trend, and please correct me if I am wrong.
When someone invites someone to an event, and they don’t want to go for whatever reason, the male population seems more comfortable with saying no without any justification. Whereas women seem to justify themselves more with reasoning ranging from health to filled schedules and an infinite amount of apologies.
Why do women need to justify themselves more?
It’s interesting and just something I have noticed more recently, but I will be interested to see if the trend continues. But we should feel okay with saying no, either without justification or with a simple explanation, such as ‘I am tired.’ And that explanation should suffice.
When you begin to say no, you will notice your life change. Your own health and wellbeing will improve, time spent with people will be more meaningful and you will get that all important me time. I have found that the best way to decide what to say no to, is to sit and literally make a list. Set out everything in your life that takes up time, and decide what is important to you and what is not. I usually do four sections; important and enjoyable, important but not enjoyable, not important but enjoyable and not important and not enjoyable. Release the not important and not enjoyable and prioritise and cut the other categories down. When you begin to set the elements of your life into these categories, your happiness will increase. Removing toxicity from life can be difficult and upsetting, however it is the most liberating experience.
Saying no, is also important in a conversational setting. Letting people know that what they have said is not okay is very, very powerful. Social convention seems to dictate that even if you disagree with what someone has said, that you should stay quiet in order to avoid confrontation and awkwardness. But, if you don’t hold that person to account, they will take those views into the world thinking that they are okay, because someone who they said them to, did not react negatively. Hold people to account, and at the worst, you will have an educational debate and both of you will come out more informed.
Go out into the world, feeling more able to say no. You have a right. Look after yourself. Time is precious and life is too short to spend it saying yes to everything, especially those things that make you unhappy.
Saying no improves wellbeing, enlightens beliefs, liberalises and life will feel more like a walk along the beach.