Monday, January 18, 2010

Do You Know How to Say No?



"My therapist, Rita, has convinced me that every time I say yes when I mean no, I am abandoning myself, and I end up feeling used or resentful or frantic.  But when I say no when I mean no, it's so sane and healthy that it creates a little glade around me in which I can get the nourishment I need.  Then I help and serve people from a place of real abundance and health, instead of from this martyred mentally ill position, this open space in a forest about a mile north of Chernobyl."


Do you know how to say no?  Or do you too often find yourself saying yes when you mean no?


Image: San Francisco Botanical Garden Glade by Stan Shebs via Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons License.

20 comments:

  1. Thank you!!! I just read an article on saying no. The concept is not foreign to me but I have issues with it. As part of concentrating on me, I am going to practice saying no this year - and meaning it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I finally got a copy of that book from the library, and am reading it right now :) I love when she goes into saying no, and her ideas about it, and what it really means.
    I used to have trouble saying no, but after having kids I've found it much much easier.
    (are you back yet???)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, just got back yesterday evening. A great trip - which I'll post about tomorrow or Wednesday - but I have that familiar feeling of needing a vacation after a vacation. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Learning to say no was a wonderful lesson of stress reduction. One everyone should pratice!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think this is a real problem for women. Another thing I've gotten better at once I turned 40. Life is too short.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Women certainly have more difficulty saying no. So much (too much) of our sense of "self" is tied up in pleasing - and also, serving. We tend to put ourselves too low on the priority list, and we're spread too thin.

    Learning to say "no" takes time. As Maureen said, as we get older, it gets easier. It's also more vital; by the time you're 40 the "yes" list which is assumed has grown exponentially.

    Saying "no" also takes practice. Lots of practice. And seeing that our "no" doesn't mean we're a lesser person, partner, parent, friend, or co-worker. We are, however, slightly more sane.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I do love the way Lamott puts words together.

    I agree -- saying "no" takes practice. Most of all it takes a clear sense of yourself. When you value yourself to know what you are and aren't and what you really want to be, the "no" comes much more easily.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Kristen. I think I've found a new favorite here! You're going on my Mom's blogroll.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You know, I have a tendency to say "no" more than "yes." In fact, I miss a lot of opportunities because I'm so quick to say "no." Not too long ago I wrote a post called "Just Say 'Yes'" that addressed this very topic. My two cents.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Don't abandon yourself, Kristen. You...the deep down, true, amazing, brave, strong, and tender you deserves to be nurtured. With yes. With no. With truth.

    And thanks for reminding me of the same.

    ReplyDelete
  10. One of my favorite books. And I'm terrible at saying no. Recently, the closest I got was 'I'd rather not'. Sigh...

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is an important question. There are not many moments when I say "yes" when I mean "no." Rather, I say "yes" a lot because I want to do the things I am asked. I (and I imagine many women) have an issue with setting limits, with keeping my expectations at a healthy level. I do not say yes because I feel like I should, but because I *want* to, but still there are only so many hours in the day. I hope someday to learn how to say no, how to be firm about physical and existential limits. Life cannot be lived entirely in the affirmative.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am getting better at saying no. But it is a daily battle.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am much better at saying yes than no. It feels "right" to say yes even though it's not always what I WANT to do. Saying yes is easier - there's no guilt, no conflict, no long conversation. But, there are the times I'm resentful for saying yes and wish I hadn't. I'm working through these issues (along with all the others that have to do with conflict!)

    Welcome back!

    ReplyDelete
  14. There are people out there who actually can utter the word "no?"

    I SUCK. And then I hate myself. And then I hate the person who asked me for the favor in the first place. Which is why I'm making a huge pot of vegetarian, gluten-free soup for someone tomorrow when shit has hit the FAN in my own house and it's the last thing I need to do.

    Hmmm....did I just hijack this post to spew a bunch of junk about my own issues? Sorry. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. No is hard for me at times. I can say "no" to most people in my life but there are a select few I can't, no matter the position of uncomfortable ness it may leave me in. I am trying really hard to not do it though and the thing is most who know me would be really shocked to hear me say this because they always come my way when they are in need of the "No BS" advice. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I say no. I mean no. It feels good. And yet, saying NO gets more and more difficult as the kids get older. I find it harder to say NO to my 7 year old because of the guilt I feel over his two much younger, and much more needy, little brothers.

    Saying no to friends and family is really quite easy these days since it is often impossible to say yes. As in, would love to join you for blah blah blah but can't because of the kids and the job and the house and the soccer game, so, well, "No."

    ReplyDelete
  17. I do say no. I always have. It works for me. AND people who know me know I mean what I say, say what I mean, and do what I say.

    I think more people should say no.

    I'm happy to hear you're working on it. : )

    ReplyDelete
  18. I still have problems saying NO when I shouldn't but having the kids really clarified it for me in a way. I have improved. It really is a struggle though. I like the reminder from BigLittleWolf...saying NO takes practice.

    Or, at least "no thank you". Good post for me this week! THANKS.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Learning how to say "no" is the centerpiece of my self defense practice. As is really understanding when I want to say "no" and when I want to say "yes." It's about first deeply listening to myself and then having the courage to tell the truth. It's about caring more about my own integrity than what other people think of me. It is simple but not easy. These are the skills I want most to pass along to my daughter.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am happy to say that now more than ever, I am able and willing to say no with love and grace. It isn't easy. It goes against my nature. But I do it. I will keep doing it. I will teach my daughters to do it, too.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from you! I often reply to comments via e-mail so please make sure your e-mail address is set to "public" on your profile.