When To Say No

ross-denyer-hiking-vasquez-rock Last month, I wrote about taking a “Leap of Faith”, so it’s interesting to consider the alternative.

Recently, I faced a dilemma. I was really wrestling with a stressful situation, and it wasn’t until I sat with myself and asked uncensored questions that I realized what was preventing me from making a decision – my fear of saying “no”. I won’t speak for everyone, but I’ve been conditioned to believe that “no” is negative (“It’s what lazy people say! It’s what ignorant people say! It’s what cowardly people say!”), whereas “Yes” is the answer of go-getters, forward-thinkers, and champions (“Yes, and…” being the answer of champion improvisers). But now I realize that this is only one perspective.

when to say no

Here’s a different perspective: every “no” allows the opportunity for a “yes” somewhere else. If I were to say “yes” to everything, I would soon have time for nothing. I realized that a fear of saying “no” was going to force me into an irreconcilable place where I could no longer say “yes” to what I really wanted. In essence, I was imprisoning myself. Hard to see at the time, but after contemplating my true desires, I realized I had only one authentic response. Making the decision to say “no” was scary at first, but almost immediately, I could feel relief on the horizon. I was no longer out of control, flailing in a sea of other people’s momentum. I had a say. And to bring my discovery full circle, my “no” was less of an end, and more of a beginning; a leap of faith, in a different direction. And I believe that will make all the difference.

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