203 Days ’til 40: Saying “No”

02 Aug

Today I had to say “no” several times.  It was not fun.  I had to say “no” via the telephone, and in email, and in person.  Most often, I had to say “no” to nice people making requests that I just could not accommodate, for a variety of reasons.  It sucked.

I like helping and supporting people, I like listening to people.  I like it when people feel heard and empowered and assisted.  I HATE saying “no” to helping a person.  This is a lesson that is often difficult for people to grasp.  In life we often have to say “no” – it is just the way life is.  We cannot always please people and we cannot always meet their real or perceived needs.

I am learning to remind myself that, not only it is okay to say “no” – there are many times when saying “no” is actually in the best interest of the person who is making the request.  Even though a person may not want to hear the word “no”, they may NEED to hear the word “no”.  For example, as an educator, as much as a parent may want it, I cannot place a low achieving child in a gifted and talented program.  The parents may want the child in the program, but actually placing the child in a program far above their capabilities would not be healthy for the child.  Saying “no” to the parents is hard because it can be met with anger, but saying “no” is what they need to hear, it is what their child needs them to hear.

Today, 203 days ’til 40, I remind myself that the word “no” can be empowering, even to a person who does not want to hear this word.  It is important to say “no” when we need to and to be direct, open and honest.  When we are honest about our “no’s” our “yes’s” also grow in value and strength.

Above all, my brothers, do not swear — not by heaven or by earth or by anything else.  Let your “yes” be yes and your “no,” no, or you will be condemned. ~ James 5:12 – New International Version




Tags: , , , , , ,

31 responses to “203 Days ’til 40: Saying “No”

  1. Magnolia Beginnings

    August 2, 2012 at 00:21

    important post and an excellent example. Hopefully you don’t have parents that get a lawyer and say their child’s civil rights were being violated. Strange but true.

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:24

      Thank you so much! Yes, I have heard of parents who sue the schools for crazy reasons…. I also hope that does not happen!

  2. jensine

    August 2, 2012 at 00:23

    I hate saying no when I really want to help but there are some people in this world who need to hear a few no’s to learn what hard work etc is all about

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:23

      Yes, me too… you are correct, though – some people need to hear no.

  3. Reality Of Christ

    August 2, 2012 at 00:39

    Great Post!! And its only 1 day till my husbands hits the big 40! LOL. So no worries, your still ahead of the game. LOL.

  4. merlinspielen

    August 2, 2012 at 01:38

    I work in a support role as well – and I have learned not so say no – instead I say. “Unfortunately I cannot do that for you because PLACE REASON here – and this is what I can do for you that may help.”
    I am still saying no – and most times it gets to the next steps…but sometimes I can see that my client really really wanted what they were asking to have…

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:21

      Yes, they often do really want it, don’t they – I love the way you handle these situations – great insight for us all!

  5. amberwild

    August 2, 2012 at 02:40

    That reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures. It’s from the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 4:27. “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” In order to do this, sometimes we have to recognize that the wise choice is to say “no”, like you said.

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:20

      Wow, thank you os much for sharing that! 🙂

  6. walkwiththerabbi

    August 2, 2012 at 03:48

    A wonderful and necessary reminder. Thank You. Saying “no” to someone, though they will likely for the moment choose “blindness,” and therfore not “see” the grace standing before them, has the potential, when their ready to “hear,” to experience a much richer, more abundant and life-changing YES!

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:20

      Yes, that is very true…. and it takes a lot of strength to say no” when confronted with that blindness.

  7. buckwheatsrisk

    August 2, 2012 at 04:06

    you have no idea how, much this post has touched me, and hits me right where i’m at now…thank you 🙂

  8. The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

    August 2, 2012 at 17:10

    No coincidence that this happened to me twice yesterday. I actually said yes to two people that I wanted to say no to but chickened out. I need to work on my assertiveness for sure.

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:19

      Oh no! Yes, assertiveness is not an easy thing and many of us have to work on it…. over and over and over again…… until we begin to master the skill!

  9. Another Thousand Words

    August 2, 2012 at 17:38

    Great post, 400! It seems many people think “NO”, but merely say “YES” in order to be accepted (the ‘herding instinct’ at work!).

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:18

      So very true, and then they often feel bad afterwards….

  10. dogdaz

    August 2, 2012 at 19:03

    So right. It is good that you are claiming the word, ‘No.’ It is a good sign of personal boundaries that are important for growth. Keep up the good work, you are half way there it appears. What will you work on til 50?

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:18

      Thank you so much, yes I am almost at the half way mark… thank heavens! On my way to 50 maybe I will work on writing for a doctorate, instead of a blog… or??? 🙂

  11. saymber

    August 2, 2012 at 19:11

    What you said 400! I have the same problems with the word but have also come to the realization that sometimes it’s the most appropriate word.

    • 400daystil40

      August 2, 2012 at 22:17

      Yes, it is a hard problem to fight with, isn’t it???

  12. viveka

    August 2, 2012 at 20:36

    No is a very harsh and permanent word – and that’s why we don’t want to use it .. because we know ourselves how we react if we get a no. But it’s a part of life .. there has to be NO too.

  13. one4luck

    August 2, 2012 at 23:33

    Great post as usual and No I’m not just saying that.

    • 400daystil40

      August 4, 2012 at 00:55

      Thank you so much, I appreciate the compliment! 🙂

  14. Spider42

    August 4, 2012 at 10:50

    I tend to be like you about wanting to help people and listen to their problems and do become a bit of an agony aunt at times – but though there have been hard moments where I’ve had to push to do it, saying “no” was something I learned to do a while ago because otherwise people just take you for granted and walk all over you… even when they don’t mean to and that used to annoy me no end.
    Good for you, keep at it and remember that sometimes you gotta be give “tough love”. 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      August 4, 2012 at 22:51

      Very true – this is something I have had to learn with my staff members….. I do have a problem with my being “too nice” and losing their respect. As I set limites, the respect grows and there are less attempts to take advantage of me. I agree, tough love is a necessity at times.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: