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