Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Saying No

My friend was pondering what to do. She'd been asked to teach art in a summer program. The money was good. The hours were easy, just two hours a day, four days a week, for 4 weeks. She would have complete control over the material she presented, and it would be a valuable service to provide to others.

The problem? She just didn't want to do it.

"But," she said to me over coffee one afternoon,"I feel like I can't say no. They were so sweet about it when they asked me, and it's so flattering to be considered."

Sometimes being bold means having the courage to say no to what we really don't want, regardless of how sweetly we are asked or how heavily we are flattered. When someone else wants something from us, they are going to be considerate in thier approach, and they are often going to load on the complements in order to convince us we are the perfect person to do what they need done. It's part of the power of persuasion.

We're conditioned to say yes, however, whether it is in work situations or our personal lives, and often we find ourselves doing things that don't feed our spirits or drain us of all our mental energies. Often we do these things because we were asked, and we feel that we can't say no. It would be rude to say no. People might not like us anymore if we say no to them, especially when we can't really give them a valid reason.

My friend wrestled with this for a week, and in the end, she didn't say no. She taught in the summer program, and did well. The kids she worked with loved her. The adults thought she was amazing. But she didn't enjoy it, and by the end of the month, she was mentally drained from two hours a day, four days a week. It wasn't the job itself, it was the obligation of doing something that she didn't really want to do. And, truth be told, something that she didn't have to do. She chose to say yes when she could have been true to herself and said no.

Take a look at your current circumstances - are you choosing to do things you don't want to do, just because you feel you can't say no? Are you like my friend, spending hours doing tasks you don't enjoy just because you were asked sweetly and flattered? Is it time that you were bold, stood up for yourself, and said, "I'm sorry, but this time, I just can't."

Benjamin Franklin once stated, "Do not squander time, for it is what life is made of." Consider this carefully next time someone comes to you with a request of your time. It's certainly okay to say yes...but it's also okay sometimes to say no.

1 comment:

  1. The letters in the word no frequently stand for NEW OPPORTUNITIES. If we have the courage to follow our heart we will be free to do many of the things that others fail to attempt. The letters in yes, can stand for YOUR ENTHUSIASM STOPS. In 2009, I did what your friend seemed like the RIGHT thing to do. I should have followed my heart and said no. It ended up being one of the most trying years in my lifetime. It was such a challenge to just show up. Listen to your heart...unless you want to become bitter and angry. Life is good...just too short!
    In Sunny SC