~A wise ‘No’ is actually a YES to our truth~
I am also only recently learning the art of saying ‘No’. As simple as this word maybe, I have always found myself extremely difficult to say ‘No’. But I am coming to realize that this word is as powerful as the other powerful and magical words, such as, ‘thank you’, ‘hope’, ‘belief’ and ‘love’.
Most of us assign this word ‘no’ with being unkind, selfish and inconsiderate. I too felt the same. If I said ‘no’ I felt that I would be looked down upon. I just didn’t have the courage to speak up and reject someone. I felt I would be bad. Also, I felt that whoever asks me for help or asks me to do anything I would never say ‘No’ because they were actually providing me with an opportunity to do good and help someone.
Of course, when we help others, we actually help ourselves. But over time what I have come to understand is that we don’t necessarily help people just by saying ‘Yes’. True help consists of encouragement, sincere concern and love. Also, not everyone is looking for help. We also have to recognize the fact that sometimes people are just trying to get things done from us to their advantage. So if we go on saying ‘yes’ to everything, then we are actually saying ‘no’ to our own self, our self-respect and our time.
When to say ‘No’
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It was after reading one of Paulo Coelho’s chapter that really altered my thinking and gave me the power to decide. It says,
This one quote has helped me decide between a ‘Yes’ and a ‘No’
So, when should you say No?
- First, listen to your heart. What is it really saying? If it is immediately saying ‘No’, then you should straightaway say ‘No’ too no matter how hard it may be.
- Feel your body too. Feel how you feel. If you feel uneasy somewhere in your body or your mind, then you know what you must say- ‘No’.
- Don’t say ‘Maybe’ if you are certain if you don’t want to do it. You will be lying if you say so. Saying ‘No’ is one of the time where we are practising being truthful to our self and to the other person too. So be truthful and say ‘No’ if you are certain that your heart is saying ‘No’.
- If your heart doesn’t say anything, then only say that you need some time to ponder and reflect. Then after analysing, say ‘Yes’ only if it is a complete yes. Let there be no doubt in your heart as you say Yes.
The power of saying ‘No’
There have been numerous times when I said ‘Yes’ with my lips but ‘no’ from my heart. But now, no more. By learning the art of saying ‘No’ here is what we lose and what all we gain. And herein lies the Power of ‘No’.
What we lose by saying ‘No’
- Bitterness in thought: By saying ‘No’ to the things our heart says no to, we spare ourselves with having bitter thoughts first and foremost towards our own selves.
This is because the moment we say yes to the things we are unwilling to do, within our minds we start saying, ‘I should have said a no’. We then tend to feel bitter in our thoughts towards our own self for our lack of strength or confidence in saying ‘No’.
But by saying No we lose this bitterness in thought. We either say a complete yes with an open heart or a complete no without fussing or feeling guilty about it.
- Bitterness in feeling: Next, we lose bitterness in feeling towards the person who asked us to do a certain thing. If we go on saying Yes to everyone without our heart’s consent, then even though we might be helping that person, in our hearts we may feel negative about the person. And this comes out as complains to our own self or complains when we talk about it to another person. And complains drain our energy. (It is one of the biggest obstacles to peace and we must break this complaining habit.)
But When we say No when our heart is saying no, we spare ourselves from having any ill-feeling and complain towards that person. Once we say yes, we do it genuinely not just for the person’s satisfaction, but also for our own.
- Bitterness in action: When we say yes to the things we want to say no to, we act upon that thing to be done bitterly. We start complaining about it saying it is unnecessary work that got burdened unto you. There is no love and learning in the action. We do it just for the sake of doing and we want to get rid of it as soon as possible. And that action reaches our heart and makes us feel low.
But when we say ‘No’ when our heart is saying no, we spare ourselves from bitterness in action. So that when we do say ‘yes’ to anything, we do it will all our heart. This is how we can embrace the thought,
‘Let all that you do be done in love’
What we gain by saying ‘No’
- Establishing truthfulness: ‘A wise no is a yes to our truth’. It is only after I learned to say No that I understood what this really means. Each word we speak takes us either farther or closer to our true self. Truth no matter how small a word maybe brings us closer. False no matter how small a word maybe takes us farther.
When we say yes with our lips but no from our hearts, we are being untrue. We hide the truth not only to the other person but also to our self. But when we say No by consenting to our heart, we establish truthfulness and bring our own little world closer to the truth. Learning to say ‘No’ is our practice in establishing truthfulness too.
- Establishing self-respect: Nothing is and nothing should be greater than our self-respect. There are many people who want everything their way. For them, people are just a means to their objective. If we go on saying Yes to everyone we might get into the risk of falling into their trap. By saying No when our heart feels uncomfortable, we don’t allow such people to take us lightly or have everything ‘their’ way. We establish and elevate our own self-respect. We value our time and we take on only those things where we genuinely want to take out time for.
- Establishing a strong sense of self: “‘When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself’ – Paulo Coelho.” Abiding by this rule makes us strong. Too often we go on saying Yes and have difficulty in saying No because we feel that other person might think bad about us. We are too concerned with what the other person might think or feel. And in doing so, we go on saying Yes to others but No to ourselves.
But learning to say ‘No’ has made me feel strong about myself. It has brought me a sense of freedom. If I am genuinely busy, I will say I am busy. When I feel I can, I will say I will do it and do it wholeheartedly without complaint. If I genuinely don’t feel like doing a thing, I will say so. As long as we are true to our self, we are true to others. And the truth is what matters. I am no longer concerned with how other people might think of me as long as I am being truthful in the words that I speak whether it is a simple ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. This simple word has the power to make our self be strong.
Thus lies the Power of ‘No’. Let us not underestimate this word for it gives us a chance to listen to our heart and act according to our heart. And when we do so, we lose all these things and gain all these things.