Learn to say NO

Written by: Dianne Edmonds Posted on 29 Sep 2011 1

At a time where I am learning to say no to some things, I spoke recently with two other people on the same day who said, “I couldn’t say no”. One had chosen to say yes to something she was passionately interested in, and so driven to say yes. The other had said yes to making costumes so was busily spending the night before the performance making them, part of her wishing she hadn’t said yes, part of her happy to help. There is always the dilemma in saying no, or learning to say no, so that we can say yes to the things that matter the most. Saying yes to too many things, can leave us with little or no time left over for the more important things that we would actually like to do ourselves.

The reasons I have become interested in this is because recently I have said no to a few very worthwhile project and yes, even presentation opportunities at conferences, so that I can equip The Pregnancy Centre and juggle less the time that I have with my family. It has shown me what I needed to learn – how to finally say no, or even no more, thank you. I’ve put some things aside for many months, and even years for this time, the time to dedicate to motherhood and helping mothers through The Pregnancy Centre. At the moment we are waiting to see the ‘arrival’ of the first proof of our reprinted version of the booklet As Your Shape Changes, which we first published in 2000. We’ve a new cover and have updated and recreated, while also keeping most of the original content. It is great to know that what we wrote more than ten years ago has stood the test of time.
If I hadn’t said no however to a number of things, it would still be sitting now waiting on the computer to be read and reread, over and over again as you do when you proof read something.

How many things have you said yes to, when you really meant to say no?

How many things would you have liked to have said yes to, but then didn’t have the time or were overcommitted?

One of the first words that we teach our babies and toddlers is “NO”. No, because that is dangerous, no because it is off limits, no because these are the boundaries that we set and expect you to listen to and learn. Now I am not an expert in boundaries, otherwise I wouldn’t be learning to say no now, but there are some good books available if you do want to hear more on this area. Should we learn to say “NO” again while teaching our toddler? It could be no in the home, I am not going to do that now, because I am going to do this instead. Or, no I am not going to have that second piece of cake because I am dedicated to being fit, strong and healthy. What about, no, I am not going to get upset about this, I am going to take time out and go for a walk to get some fresh air and clear my mind?

Now the harder one – perhaps......No, I am sorry I can’t do that. No, I am sorry I am unable to attend. Recently reading a book by Dr Kevin Leman called “Have a new you by Friday”, he said to not make an excuse, because then it give the other person a way to talk you into it. He also talks about birth order, love languages and refuelling your tank. He gives an overview of the five love languages, from books by Gary Chapman, who also wrote ‘The five Love Languages of Children’ with Ross Campbell. These are books that are in my bookshelf, that now that I have said no to a number of other things, I will have the time to read in the near future. Actually that is what I have found recently, that by saying no, and finishing with some seasons of commitment (some things are good for a season but they have an end date), I actually have some time to read a book again.

So, this week, how many things can you say no to, so you can really do what matters most to you?

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