I know a few people who voluntarily take on tasks, and then they quite often resent the person who asked them. One must give of their time, money or possessions out of kindness (or even boredom), but they mustn’t give it out of fear. We sometimes fear that if we say NO to somebody, they won’t like us. They will be mad at us, or an opportunity may pass us by.
There are times when NO is the most important word in your vocabulary, and it’s when you truly don’t want to do something asked of you. But NO must be used sparingly or you will reap what you sow. Everyone around you could end up telling you NO when you most need a YES.
NO is used to place the cap on the well. It’s one of my favorite analogies. We are like a fresh well of water in the middle of town. Everybody comes to take our water for their sustenance; it’s crisp, cold, healing and purifying. As the well, you’re fine as long as everybody takes just what they need. Over time, some may become careless or even ungrateful with the water. They may begin taking more than their fair share. If you don’t have somebody policing the well, the well could run dry. When a well runs dry, it’s no good to anybody. Saying YES to everything can drain your well, and leave you dry and empty.
There are times when we must say NO, and that is when we must preserve something; our relationships, our money (unless you have plenty), our health, our sanity. Doing something because you fear somebody else’s reaction to a NO answer should make you think a bit further upon the relationship. Do you really want to be around somebody that constantly needs you to say YES to their every request? Is their personality so volatile that a NO answer will set them off? People like this are usually spoiled with an unbalanced sense of entitlement. Trust me. They need the NO as much as you do.
Saying NO, especially in these situations, is healthy for you both. You won’t feel angry and resentful that you are once again using your time and energy to assist somebody who should, by all accounts, be able to figure it out themselves. It also helps the person asking. Yes, they may become angry or upset that you told them NO. That’s when it must be gently explained that saying YES to a person or situation all of the time is not conducive to your own well-being, or the relationship, because it makes you resent the person asking.
Is the person you’re saying NO to truly in need, or is asking you just an easy way out for them? If they truly need you, then feel honored they are asking you for help. They see you as somebody who can assist (as long as it’s not a serial help kind of situation where they never get on their own feet). They may also see you as somebody who is in a position to help. Ego-speaking, this gives you power in the relationship. What will you do with that power?
There is a time for YES and a time for NO. NO can be as powerful, loving and healing as YES. Think about it.