Friday, February 16, 2007

Learning To Say NO

Growing up was great but there will always be buts. I grew up in a culture where you don't necessarily have a voice as a youngster. If you say no, you get in trouble. It is an act of disrespect. What a great way to develop your people skills. It comes down to the way you communicate what you want to say. Hence be nice and smile while you are at it. No Hard feelings.

You see I have always had a big mouth and I count it a blessing because there is a reason why I have a big mouth. When I say I have a big mouth it isn't because I love to chitchat though I enjoy the occasional one or two. Come on I'm a lady, I was designed to do such things. No, I take pleasure in saying things that lift people up. It makes my day when someone smiles because I said something encouraging. Hence, when I realised I had a big mouth; I trained myself to say the right things. Don't get me wrong. There are times when I mess up real bad and I have to swallow my pride and apologise but hey, life is a steep learning curve. We have no choice but to go through it.

Back to saying no; I went to a boarding school and it was ruled with iron hand. Those above you in class were dictators and it felt more like a military boot camp with an authoritarian or should I call it a totalitarian type of government. Hell, there were days I hated being at school. My big mouth always got me into trouble because I hate when people mistreat others and I just have to speak up. That got me into a whole lot of trouble and after a while, I discovered I was now conditioned to saying yes to everyone. Why?

I said yes because I wanted those in the senior class to like me and not hate or pick on me. It worked for a while but as always, they were their usual hating self. If you'll allow me to be honest, some of them were really b**chy. No she didn't. Yes I did. Swallow and stay with me. I couldn't stand them but in order to avoid everyone picking on me, saying yes was my way out.

Without realising, saying no soon turned into a thing where I was the one hurting the other person and that has been my life up until now. It is sad to admit an adult like myself did not know how to say no but you see many of us fall into that trap without knowing it. We think we are so nice and everyone likes us. That is a lie and we both know it. Everybody cannot like you no matter how nice you think you are. I'm not bitter just being honest. I told you I had a big mouth didn't I? Stay with me now. Don't you dare stop reading. Come on read on. That's it. Well done.

Before you know it, you become this little hater, resenting everyone because you think they are holding you back. Well guess what no one but you is holding you back. You have the right to say no. That is why you have a will. No one can make you do what you don't want to do. If you want to contest that, I understand but we live in a society where free will is of the norm. Well so they say. Hence, you have no excuse to say otherwise. I have said no to a few people recently and boy It felt good. You need to try it.

What have I learnt, that I am not superwoman and I can't do it all. It was great to finally tell myself that I am the most important person in my life; not because I am being self centred but there are times when I need to be selfish in order to maximise my time. It involves saying no to certain things and not feel guilty no matter how nice the offer is or how great you will look to everyone by saying yes.

So, let me ask you what do you need to say no to today? Is it to yourself and that habit you have carried about for years, praying no one finds out? It is time to cut the rope. The rope of fear, guilt, shame and the feeling that you are unworthy to say no. You can say no. It is yours to say. Go ahead; shout it on the roof top. NO. You see, it's easy. If I learnt to say no and I am still practising it, then I bet you can do it. It isn't always the easiest thing to do but someone has got to do it. Why not you?

It's easy. JUST SAY NO and while you are saying it, smile. Makes it less painful and you remain friends. Pleasant surprises waiting to be discovered when you learn to say no. Don't say no out of spite. Say no because you have things that need your attention. Saying no is about having a trajectory in life which means you focus on your highest priorities. You know when to take time out for you and no one else. You realise the value of who you are, the gifts and abilities you carry and finally, take the time to develop, nurture and cultivate them.

Just Say No.