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Is saying "No" important ?

Updated: May 30, 2023

There have been so many situations where we wanted to tell a "no," but we ended up saying a "yes."

The word "No" means an act or instance of refusing or denying. It's just two letters, yet saying no can feel challenging, even complicated. For many of us, saying no doesn't just feel awkward. It feels wrong.

Why does it feel wrong to tell it?

Let us go back to our childhoods, whenever we asked our parents.

  • Can I go to my friend's house tonight?

  • Can I eat that chocolate?

  • Can I buy those pairs of shoes?

The answer we got from them remained the same NO. These situations or incidents have made us associate the word "No" with rejection, which most of us take in a negative approach.

We have never been taught to understand when and why the word "No."

This had been a significant drawback in me of saying yes to everything. After speaking with my friends and reading a book, this perspective gave me clarity that is,

Today's society wants us to do everything, or we are not doing enough.

Think about it, yes, it got to you too!

This is not the sole reason to say a yes to things; one factor can be avoiding the discomfort of saying a no.

In the initial days, I said yes to everything and enjoyed it, but after a while, it became unsustainable. I was burning out and was dissatisfied with all things I did. Whenever I would be back home and think about my day, I would tell myself, "I missed a lot of important things."

Here are a few practices that have helped me through it.

  1. Start saying: Avoid the circus in mind, the excuses, and not delay or stall the other person. Once you start, you realize that you don't need to justify your answer.

  2. Be selfish: Put your need first. If you prioritize a person's needs over yours, you'll find that your productivity will suffer, and resentment will mount.

  3. Set boundaries: We all take time to build our relationships and then understand our roles within them. When we truly understand the chemistry and our role, we won't be worried about the results of saying no.

  4. Some questions that worked out for me :

    1. Will saying yes prevent me from focusing on something more substantial?

    2. Does this potential project, opportunity, or activity align with my values, beliefs, and goals?

    3. Will saying yes make me even more tired or burnt out?'

The book that helped me get out of this infinite loop of saying a "yes" is Hell Yeah or No" by Derek Sivers. One of the things that he said, which I love, is when you have the opportunity to do something, anything, with your time, needs to be a 'hell yes' or a 'no,' nothing in between.

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