As parents, we are faced with saying “no” more times than we care to count.
“No, you cannot stay up past your bedtime.”
“No, you cannot jump off the top bunk.”
“No, you cannot cut your sister’s hair.”
However at work, or in social circles, we often find ourselves faced with situations where we really could benefit from saying “no,” but somehow lack the courage to do so.
Courage is defined as the ability to confront fear, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.
If you ask most people why they say “yes” when they really mean “no” it is often because they fear disappointing someone, even if it is at their own expense.
- Your co-worker asks you to stay late to work on a project, but that means that you will miss your daughter’s t-ball game, but you reluctantly say yes…
- You are asked to head a committee at church, but you know deep down inside you are already stretched in too many directions as it is, yet you still say yes…
- You’ve been working late every night this week so your son asks you to buy him another video game and out of guilt you say yes, even though he has plenty at home…
Saying “no” is an art form. It takes understanding, the ability to offer an alternative solution, empathy, and courage. Perhaps next time you will:
- Express your commitment to the project, but suggest taking your work home, so you don’t have to miss your daughter’s game.
- Offer thanks for having faith in you to head up the committee, but explain that you don’t have the proper time to dedicate. Suggest helping to assist, as opposed to shouldering all the responsibility yourself.
- I know mother’s guilt only too well, but one thing I have learned is that my kids want my time above all else. Offer to spend some extra one-on-one time with your kids, as opposed to rewarding them with material gifts.
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