The Importance of Saying “No”
Scrambling to get everything ready for an impromptu outing in the next town over, I realized I did not want to go, but I couldn’t let myself back out of a commitment. My upstairs neighbor had called that morning to invite my daughter, my son and myself to a musical event in the next town over, and for some reason I accepted the invitation. I accepted it despite the fact that I had been planning to do some much needed research and possibly some shadow work. The original plan was for my neighbor to accompany my daughter to her Japanese class, so I was confused about her inviting us to a musical event instead. It was over the phone, I couldn’t make sense of the Japanese, and rather than just admit that I didn’t understand, I simply agreed to go immediately regretting it after getting off the phone.
Having made the commitment to go, I felt as if backing out of it was not an option. However, I reminded myself that I had also made a previous commitment to myself not to do anything without asking myself what someone who loved themselves would do. I spent most of the time between the phone call and the time we were supposed to meet up arguing with myself about whether or not I should back out. Finally, fifteen minutes before my neighbor was due to arrive at my apartment, I sat down, and asked myself whether or not someone who loved themselves would go, and the answer was a resounding no. Feeling like a total flake, I dialed my neighbor’s number, but there was no answer. I planned to tell her the bad news when she got to my place, but then she called me back. I explained in the most appallingly broken Japanese that I needed to take the time to do research, and she caught on quick. She explained that she understood and graciously offered to take my daughter to her Japanese class, and told me that I would need to pick her up. I agreed and thirty minutes later, as I watched my daughter leave with my neighbor, I felt so relieved.
Saying no does not come easy to me, in fact, I cannot remember the last time I said no. I hate the feeling of disappointing someone and because I am not yet in the habit of putting myself first, I forget that in trying not to disappoint others, I end up disappointing myself. This time, I’m happy to say it was different. After getting over the initial guilt at bagging out at the last minute; something I will not repeat, I felt so happy. I got some research done, and I even had some time to meditate.
Saying no allowed me to have a really productive day. It also taught me that saying no is not so bad, and the reward of putting myself first and meeting my own needs far outweighs the unpleasantness that comes with the idea of disappointing someone. I plan to make a habit of saying “yes,” when I mean “yes” and “no” when I mean “no.” It will make me a more authentic person and it will make my life easier.
Until next time, I wish you all the very best.